Mr. Chairman, I rise in strong support of H.R. 1301, the FY17 Department of Defense Appropriations Act.
The world is more dangerous and unstable than any time is recent history. The U.S. and our allies face constant threats from countries including Iran, Russia, China, and North Korea. ISIS and other global terrorists threaten our very way of life.
Our number one responsibility as Members of Congress is to provide for the defense of this nation.
I commend Chairman Frelinghuysen for the outstanding job he did drafting the FY17 bill. He deserves our thanks for producing such a significant and meaningful bill.
Since becoming the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee Chairwoman, I have spent a lot of time talking to senior defense leadership to find out what they need to combat these threats.
They have unanimously stated that the only thing our adversaries respect is strength and they need this bill passed to ensure our military is as strong and effective as possible.
Sequestration and reduced budget requests have caused the military to be underfunded for too long. This bill begins the process of rebuilding our military and giving our warfighters the resources they need to counter the numerous, complex threats around the world.
This bill reverses the drawdown of end strength and instead increases it by 36,000 troops above the FY17 budget request.
This bill reverses steep cuts to procurement by funding additional ships and aircraft to modernize our weapons systems and address shortfalls.
This is important because we have the smallest number of ships in the Navy since 1916 and the average age of an air force aircraft is 27 years old. Marine aviation squadrons have been forced to salvage parts from museums in order to keep planes flying.
In every meeting I have had with defense leadership, they emphasize the devastating impact both sequestration and operating under a continuing resolution have on our security.
When asked about the impact of a full year C.R. General Goldfein, Chief of Staff of the Air Force said, “there is no enemy on the planet that can do more damage to the United States Air Force than us not getting a budget.”
Our military is counting on us to pass this bill now. It is the only way to ensure the United States will be strong and able to lead in this very dangerous world.
I strongly urge a yes vote.
Mr. Chairman, I yield back my time.
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The video of this statement can be viewed here.