TRANSPORTATION, TREASURY, HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT, THE JUDICIARY, THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, AND INDEPENDENT AGENCIES APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2006 -- (House of Representatives - June 30, 2005)
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Mr. HUNTER. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman for yielding me time.
I think most of my colleagues know that we had a hearing 2 days ago on something that is not an easy subject, that is, Guantanamo, the treatment of the detainees, many of whom were picked up on terrorist battlefields around the world, including the 20th hijacker, the bodyguard for Osama bin Laden and an institution which is at the focal point of a great deal of public discussion.
We had Brigadier General Hood, the commander of Guantanamo; Sergeant Major Menendez; and Lieutenant Commander Ostergaard, who runs the medical facilities. They gave us straight ahead, candid, absolutely truthful answers, and every member of the committee, Democrat and Republican, had a chance to ask them questions, cross-examine them. I would just ask my colleagues to look at the statements that came from Democrats and Republicans regarding the quality of the testimony.
Now, each year, we put together a $400 billion-plus defense budget. That requires candid, up-front testimony from the people that wear the uniform of the United States and the civilian officials that oversee the Pentagon.
In addition to that budget, we bolt on and bolted on this year a $50 billion bridge appropriations; and to do that, we had to ask of the services and of our military leadership, and we drilled down right to the platoon level; we had to ask them for unfunded requirements, that is, we said what did you need that was not in the budget but in your estimation, in your candid opinion, General, Captain, Lieutenant, Sergeant, what do you think we need for the Armed Forces of the United States.
They answered us candidly; and because of that, we were able to put together a complete and robust statement of the requirements that we had, and we were able to meet those with the $50 billion bridge fund that we then bolted on to the defense authorization bill.
Our process has been one that has been marked by candor, by truthful testimony, and I think by respect from Republicans and Democrats for the process.
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