DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2007 -- (House of Representatives - August 04, 2007)
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Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. Mr. Chairman, I rise in support of the bill and want to thank Chairman MURTHA, Ranking member YOUNG and their very able staff for their hard work.
The challenge before our Subcommittee was this: strike the appropriate balance between present and the future needs for our military in a time of war.
Clearly, we must provide the funding necessary to support our courageous young warfighters--troops in the current fight--and their families.
In this regard, I am pleased that the bill:
Fully funds a 3.5 percent pay raise for troops;
Provides an additional $2.5 billion for family support activities--more counselors, teachers, day care providers, better housing, etc;
That the bill: Contains significant increases in many Defense Health accounts and provides funding to improve military mental health and PTSD programs;
Includes new efforts on preventative medicine in DOD and enhancements to military medical research;
The $1.9 billion shortfall in the military's TriCare program is erased in this bill;
Contains new initiative to consolidate the DOD and VA medical record-keeping systems to assure that our soldiers' medical records do not fall through bureaucratic cracks.
Further, the bill:
Fully funds flying hours for our aviators and home training for all those who fight on our behalf;
Includes an additional $142 million to I provide enhanced security at DOD bases here in the U.S. As the recent incident at Fort Dix demonstrates, our military bases are terrorist targets.
But Mr. Chairman, this Committee also applied its best judgment as we look to the future and how this Nation will confront future opponents in future conflicts. The bill:
Provides nearly a billion new dollars to upgrade the equipment of our National Guard and Reserves for both military and home state civil operations;
Fully funds the ``end strength'' increases for the Army and the Marines;
Moves the F-22 Raptor program forward and retains language that bars its foreign sale;
Advances the Joint Strike Fighter program and directs production of a 2nd engine;
Establishes a new Army Stryker Brigade and contains funding for five new ships for the Navy.
Mr. Chairman, if I had written it this bill, I might have written sections differently. For example, one could argue with the total funding levels. And I wonder if we have ``gotten it right'' with respect to reductions to Future Combat Systems--the Army's signature modernization program.
But all-in-all, this is a good package worthy of our support. I thank the Chairman. I thank the Ranking Member. And I thank the staff and urge support of the bill.
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