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Mr. HOYER. I thank my friend for yielding. I thank Mr. Andrews for his extraordinary work on making sure that our national defense is strong and ready and that our troops are provided for as we put them in harm's way. I thank him for his leadership. I also want to thank Mr. McKeon for his leadership on the committee in helping to bring this bill to the floor.
America faces a massive budget challenge, and it must be addressed. The consequences of our dangerous budgetary situation are truly wide-ranging. We all know where America's unsustainable path of debt leads. Among other things, it leads to a dramatically diminished American role in the world. History has seen time and time again great powers forced into retreat by unbearable debt. Simply stated, they did not pay attention to the bottom line.
Democrats take that lesson seriously, which is why we made fiscal responsibility such a priority under President Obama. We passed the PAYGO law, which ensures that Congress pays for what it buys. We passed a health insurance reform bill that significantly cuts the deficit. President Obama has proposed a budget that freezes non-security discretionary spending, cuts the deficit by more than half by 2013, and cuts it by more than $1 trillion over the next decade.
Americans need to know that every dollar in our budget is spent wisely and that none of them go to waste. We talk a lot about waste, fraud, and abuse. Administration after administration talk about it; and then as soon as they leave, we talk again about waste, fraud, and abuse. Whether it's a Republican administration or Democratic administration, we all talk about it, and then we immediately talk about it after the last administration has left. Americans need to know that their dollars are being spent correctly. That's what this bill is focused on. Defense acquisition reform is part of that work, because defense spending accounts for nearly one-fifth of our Federal budget. We took an important step last year when we passed and the President signed the Weapons Systems Acquisition Reform Act.
I see we have now been rejoined by the chairman of the committee, my good friend, Ike Skelton. Chairman Skelton has been an extraordinary chairman of that committee, and there is no person in the Congress who has fought harder to make sure that the quality of life for our members of our armed services is more attended to than Chairman Ike Skelton of Missouri. I thank him for that.
But he also understands that we need to spend our defense dollars smartly, without waste, and make sure that they are effective in providing our warfighters with the tools that they need but make sure that the dollars we spend to do that are done so effectively. Today, we can go a step further than we went last year toward fiscally responsible defense spending which still ensures that our troops can accomplish their mission, which is our number one objective.
The IMPROVE Acquisition Act contains a number of important provisions, Mr. Chair, to eliminate waste without compromising our military effectiveness. While last year's acquisition reform went a long way towards eliminating waste in major defense acquisition programs, this bill recognizes that more than 50 percent of the Defense Department's procurement budget goes towards service contracts. As a result, the IMPROVE Acquisition Act requires rigorous accountability and clear standards for DOD's acquisition of services. The public expects no less and deserves no less in the care of their dollars. It creates a better-trained and more professional acquisition workforce, which ultimately, of course, saves us money, and it brings more responsible financial management to the Defense Department.
As Chairman Skelton, who worked so hard on this bill, put it: ``This legislation will require DOD to adopt the basic management practices that are necessary for anything as complex as the acquisition system to function properly.'' I congratulate Chairman Skelton on those remarks and on his leadership. Those practices will save taxpayers, as Mr. Andrews just said, billions and billions of dollars, while getting our troops the equipment and services they require sooner--and that we want them to have.
Our position in the world is dependent on the brave efforts and sacrifice of our troops. But it also depends on our demonstrating more responsibility here at home. Our long-term security rests, to a great extent, on that challenge. We need a national conversation about balancing our budget, and this bill is an important part of achieving that larger goal. I am pleased that we bring it to the floor with bipartisan support. I'm pleased that we will pass it with bipartisan support. And I congratulate both the Chair, subcommittee Chair, and ranking members for their leadership on this bill and urge my colleagues to strongly support it.
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