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Naval Vessel Transfer Act of 2008

Floor Speech

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC


NAVAL VESSEL TRANSFER ACT OF 2008 -- (House of Representatives - September 27, 2008)

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Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Speaker, first of all, I would like to thank my good friend, the chairman of our committee, HOWARD BERMAN. It is a delight to work with him in a bipartisan manner, and I appreciate the close cooperation that we've enjoyed in these months.

Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of H.R. 7177, a measure to authorize certain naval vessel transfers, to strengthen U.S. security assistance to Israel and to upgrade the foreign military sale status of our allies in the Republic of Korea. Mr. Speaker, this bill contains many provisions identical or similar to those contained a bill previously passed by this House this spring, H.R. 5916, the Security Assistance and Arms Export Control Reform Act of 2008.

The bill before us strengthens the U.S. commitment to the security of our dear friends in Israel by requiring an objective analysis of Israel's military capability with respect to conventional and unconventional threats while authorizing an increase in U.S. foreign military financing that is consistent with the August 2007 U.S.-Israel memorandum on military assistance. These provisions are of vital importance because as we all know, Israel is surrounded by a number of threats which threaten its very survival.

Thus, the provisions in this bill enhancing our relationship with Israel are critical to Israel's security but also to our vital interests in the region.

This legislation also upgrades the Foreign Military Sales status of our staunch ally, the Republic of Korea. Elements of this provision were included in H.R. 5443 which passed the House earlier this week. This upgrade is an important symbol of a renewed and transformed U.S.-ROK alliance. It reaffirms that South Korea continues to be a close and a much-valued strategic ally of the United States in a relationship that is, and must remain, a bedrock of stability in Northeast Asia.

Mr. Speaker, our actions here tonight will help to advance a new strategic framework for the alliance, not only for the purpose of managing a range of North Korea contingencies, but also to cement a common, democratic partnership for the 21st century.

Finally, Mr. Speaker, this bill authorizes the grant of surplus Navy vessels. According to our Secretary of the Navy, these proposed transfers would improve our political and military relationship with these countries.

The United States would also incur no cost in transferring these vessels, as the recipients would be responsible for all costs associated with the transfers.

I urge support for this important measure, Mr. Speaker.

I reserve the balance of my time.

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Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. Mr. Speaker, I would also like to reiterate the warm friendship and great cooperation that we have gotten from our chairman, both as Members and as members of our staff coordinate these sometimes thorny bills, controversial measures, and we are able to compromise and come to an agreement and understanding and help the House develop a good foreign policy for this greatest nation in the world, the United States of America. It is an honor for me to work with Chairman Berman.

Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.

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