JOHN WARNER NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT FOR FISCAL YEAR 2007 -- (House of Representatives - September 29, 2006)
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Mr. HOLT. Mr. Speaker, I reluctantly rise today to oppose the Conference Report for The National Defense Authorization Act, H.R. 5122.
The National Defense Authorization Act is Congress' only opportunity each year to seriously debate the defense polices of our Nation. Yet, when the House debated this legislation in earlier this year, the Republican Majority prevented any debate about the most important national defense issue we face: the war in Iraq. More than 2,700 American service members have lost their lives fighting in Iraq. American taxpayers have paid more than $400 billion to fund the effort. Yet, despite authorizing an additional $70 billion for the war, we have had no debate on this floor about our policy or needed strategy changes. This is an unconscionable failure of the House.
The House previously made a mockery of Congress' responsibilities to guide policy by shamefully politicizing Representative JOHN MURTHA's thoughtful proposal for a phased redeployment of American troops in Iraq. Regardless of one's opinion on the best course of action in the war, the failure of Congress to entertain debate or exercise real oversight is a dereliction of our duty.
Just this week, news reports revealed that a National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) written in April comes to the conclusion that the war in Iraq is making America less safe. I have been telling my constituents for months that this war is endangering the lives of our service members, fueling the terrorist insurgency, and failing to make us safer. The NIE confirms this.
On another important subject, Congress is also long overdue for a serious examination of our nuclear weapons policy. Fifteen years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, we behave as if the Cold War never ended, maintaining a stockpile of thousands of nuclear weapons, many on hair-trigger missiles--far more than we need to assure our continued military dominance. It is time we honor the commitment we made when we signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and begin to phase out our nuclear stockpile. This bill fails to make any changes to our nuclear posture and it is my hope that the committee will work with me to get the United States to honor our NPT pledge.
I am also disappointed that this bill authorizes $9.4 billion for the missile defense programs within the Missile Defense Agency (MDA). Since its inception during the Reagan administration, MDA has spent nearly $100 billion for missile defense programs that have repeatedly failed flight tests. This money would have been more wisely spent on other national security priorities, such as jamming devices for improvised explosive devices (IEDs), up-armoring Humvees, and radiological detection at our ports and borders. One of the craziest ideas I have ever heard is that we should deploy this missile defense system as a way to test it. Simple strategic analysis tells us that a provocative yet permeable defense is destabilizing and weakens the security of all Americans.
This authorization bill fails to address and make needed changes to U.S. policy in any one of these three areas, which is why I oppose this bill.
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