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GOP Armed Services Committee members laud defense bill

Posted: May 20, 2010 1:18 p.m.
Updated: May 20, 2010 4:18 p.m.
 
Washington, D.C. - Republicans on the House Armed Services Committee praised committee approval on Wednesday of H.R. 5136, the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2011.

According to committee Republicans, the legislation authorizes $567 billion in budget authority for the Department of Defense (DoD) and the national security programs of the Department of Energy (DOE).

The bill also authorizes $159 billion to support overseas contingency operations during Fiscal Year 2011 and authorizes $34 billion for Fiscal Year 2010 supplemental appropriations for overseas contingency operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, and to provide humanitarian and disaster assistance to assist victims following the earthquake in Haiti, House Armed Services Committee Republicans said.

Republicans on the committee issued the following statements:

Rep. Howard P. "Buck" McKeon (R-Calif.): "Republican members today improved an already strong piece of legislation that provides for our nation's military-and sends a unified message to our military personnel that we continue to support them. The legislation authorizes funding to continue fighting the war on terrorism in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"I'm pleased that several critical Republican amendments were adopted, including Rep. Kline's effort to exempt critical combat enablers from the President's authorized troop surge of 30,000 troops to Afghanistan.

"This will make it very clear that it is this committee's intent that no force protection, ISR, or medical evacuation capability should be denied to our troops in harm's way simply because they would bust a real or perceived troop cap.

"Additionally, I'm pleased that our majority counterparts worked with us on an effort to require a Department of Defense Inspector General investigation into the alleged misconduct and practices of certain lawyers for terrorist detainees held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba."

Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.): "Although we were not entirely successful in addressing every issue of concern, I do believe that on balance, the work of the committee is a worthy one that will benefit our troops.

"While we improved the underlying legislation, I remain concerned that the Administration's under-funding of defense is creating vulnerabilities.

"In particular, I am concerned with the lack of a robust commitment to missile defense, a weakening in overall nuclear defense posture and the lack of a full address of a looming fighter shortfall for our carrier fleet."

Rep. J. Randy Forbes (R-Va): "Now more than ever, with American long-term priorities in flux and vital national interests at stake, it is imperative that the Committee get this bill right.

"The bill appropriately honors the daily sacrifices of our men and women in uniform by providing resources necessary to complete the missions required of them.

"It also includes of a number of provisions to strengthen our national security, particularly as it relates to modern threats like cyberwarfare.

"I appreciate the bipartisan efforts of the Chairman on these fronts. Unfortunately, this bill could have done so much more to defend America and protect American citizens if the Committee had not voted down an amendment to prevent the transfer of terrorists held at Guantanamo Bay to the United States."

Rep. Jeff Miller (R-Fla.): "There are a variety of threats that our nation must tackle, but there are three major concerns that I believe are critical to national security and believe we should focus on: the proliferation of WMDs and their potential use on American soil, terrorist actions against American assets overseas, and the growing threat of cyberwarfare.

"Some of the actions of the new Administration and the priorities in their budget to address these threats deeply trouble me. It is time to act and I believe the Committee improved the National Defense Authorization Act.

"However, President Obama must now make some immediate and tough decisions on national security strategy in order to protect and defend this country."

Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.): "The safety and well-being of America's heroes is the top priority of this committee, and I thank Chairman Skelton and Ranking Member McKeon for working in an open and transparent process to ensure these brave men and women are properly cared for in the 2011 Defense Authorization Act.

"I thank my colleagues for supporting my amendment to ensure TRICARE is protected from the health care takeover law. Their support is also appreciated on my Yucca Mountain amendment to help examine the reckless decision to close the waste repository."

Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah): "Providing for the common defense is a primary constitutional duty of the federal government, and while this legislation doesn't go as far in certain areas as I would like, I'm grateful for the bipartisan elements of the bill that will strengthen our national security and support our troops.

"I appreciate the committee including report language reaffirming the critical need to maintain our country's Solid Rocket Motor industrial base, and criticizing NASA for wanting to terminate the Constellation program without sufficiently consulting with the Defense Department on the impacts that would have on national security and costs.

"Also, the additional funding to maintain a warm line for the Minuteman III program will ensure we don't lose that strategic capability as well."

Rep. John Kline (R-Minn.): "As a 25-year veteran of the Marine Corps, I remain committed to ensuring our troops have the equipment, resources, and support they need to do their jobs as effectively as possible. It was an honor and privilege to play a direct role in crafting and passing legislation that supports our veterans of today and tomorrow.

"I am pleased my colleagues on this committee support my amendment to provide our troops with the life-saving support necessary to accomplish their mission and return home safely.

"Additionally, this legislation includes changes that will improve the Yellow Ribbon reintegration law I championed three years ago.

"I have closely monitored the implementation of the Yellow Ribbon program in Minnesota, and I am pleased to have been able to help make the Yellow Ribbon program even better."

Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.): "The FY11 National Defense Authorization Act accomplishes some vital things to support our courageous men and women fighting on the front line of freedom; and I was greatly heartened by the Committee's support for several Republican amendments, including my amendment requiring the Administration to develop and report to Congress a National Military Strategic Plan to deal with Iran's defiant pursuit of nuclear weapons.

"Nevertheless, I remain concerned that the Obama Administration maintains a dangerous lack of urgency when it comes to dealing with the threats of jihadist terrorism and missile and nuclear proliferation.

"I find it astounding that the Committee voted against preventing the transfer of terrorists from Guantanamo Bay to the United States. I hope that ultimately some of these issues will be addressed before sending this bill to the President."

Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Penn.): "I believe the committee has produced an NDAA that upholds Congress' commitment to support our nation's warfighters.

"Specifically, I am pleased the committee supported amendments to provide our troops in Afghanistan with additional life saving combat enablers and the tools our troops need to protect forward operating bases from attack.

"I am equally pleased that the committee has continued its support for military families with a 1.9 percent basic pay raise.

"That said, I do believe it is equally important to mention that the committee missed an opportunity to take a strong stance against changes to detainee policy and the Administration's troubling revisions to our national nuclear posture.

"Lastly, I believe the committee could have done more to ensure the deployment of a robust comprehensive missile defense system, which is critical to the protection of our interests at home and abroad as we face emerging nuclear threats from Iran and North Korea."

Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.): "Rogue nations with nuclear weapons pose a constant threat to world peace and domestic security. I am concerned that the Obama Administration has set our nation on a path to eliminate our nuclear weapons in a time when the threat to our nation has not diminished.

"My amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act would not allow any future nuclear weapons cuts unless the most rigorous analysis takes place that requires the Secretary of Defense and the National Nuclear Security Administration to certify and justify that no erosion of our national security would occur. The nuclear triad must also be protected for maximum security.

"The world is safer with a strong America. The Obama Administration must be prevented from enacting naïve and short-sighted policies that erode our strength and weaken our national defense."

Rep. Rob Wittman (R-Va.): "This bill demonstrates the House Armed Services Committee's dedication to supporting our men and women in uniform, and I am pleased to support this legislation today.

"After traveling to Afghanistan and Pakistan last month and visiting the troops in the field, I know it is critical that we move the bill forward quickly to provide the support and resources our service members need to be successful on the battlefield."

Rep. Mary Fallin (R-Okla.): "To defend and protect America, we need the best-trained, best-equipped military in the world. I am pleased this year's defense authorization bill continues our strong support for our uniformed men and women and provides critical funding for our troops overseas.

"For the brave men and women who have served our nation, this bill also enhances the benefits and services available to them and their families.

"While I remain concerned over portions of this bill, including misguided Guantanamo detainee policy that will put known-terrorists back on the battlefield and make us less safe, it is important we provide our nation's armed forces the resources they need for success."

Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Colo.): "I am glad the committee came together to do what is right and recognize that the victims of the Fort Hood are just as much a part of the War on Terror as any other service member in a combat zone and should be treated as such.

"Unfortunately, the majority has decided to that the American people do not deserve to know the full findings of the Fort Hood report. Despite today's setback, I will continue to fight for the release of the complete report."

Rep. John Fleming, M.D. (R-La.): "Without doubt, providing for our nation's defense is one of Congress' most solemn responsibilities.

"As a former Naval Officer, I consider it a great privilege to take part in shaping the annual defense authorization bill which provides critical resources to our troops in the field and benefits to our nation's veterans.

"While I think this bill could have gone further in supporting investment in proven missile defense systems and accelerating the development of long range strike technologies like the next generation bomber, overall I am pleased with the committee's bipartisan effort."

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