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Public Statements

National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2011

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. MARSHALL. Mr. Chairman, this is a pretty simple amendment. We give fire retardant uniforms to all soldiers deploying to our combat zones. National Guard soldiers here in the United States do not have fire retardant uniforms, for the most part. And yet some National Guard soldiers, as an ordinary part of their duties, are exposed to fire hazards.

The amendment's pretty simple. It simply says we acknowledge that there's a cost issue associated with the issuing of fire retardant uniforms to all of our National Guard soldiers here in the United States. But at least we should encourage the Guard to consider issuing those uniforms to those soldiers who, as a normal course of their duties, from time to time are exposed to fire hazards. And I hope that everybody would agree that that's a wise thing for us to do.

I reserve the balance of my time.

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Mr. MARSHALL. I agree with Mr. Coffman, who cochairs, along with me, the Balanced Budget Caucus. I agree with him on both counts: one, that I have got a good amendment here, and that we ought not to pass the Murphy amendment.

I think everybody understood the course that we were headed on with regard to Don't Ask, Don't Tell was for the military to do a study of the issue, give the study to us, we look at the study and then make a decision. We don't have the results of the military's analysis. What we do have is pretty well expressed concerns by the service Chiefs of each one of our branches that we ought not to move forward, that we are getting the cart before the horse here on this issue.

It seems to me we have been committed for some time to a course where we are going to look at the information and then make the decision. This reverses that course. I think it's a mistake.

As long as we are talking about different issues here, I would like to talk about the F-35 alternate engine as well. We cochair, Mr. Coffman, the Balanced Budget Caucus. We are both very concerned about unnecessary expenditures.

I talked to a retired commodore recently. He was an F-16 pilot. They had a squadron where pretty routinely only four to six of their jets would operate, and it was engine problems. At the time they were having those problems, it was sole sourced. When competition was injected, the effect of competition was that all of a sudden the engines that we were getting improved in quality dramatically. So competition is good for the soul.

We actually have a statute that requires competition. If we follow our own law, we will insist upon competition for the engines where the F-35 is concerned. But there is a specific example of competition working where jet engines are concerned, and it's the F-16 and the reliability of the F-16. GAO did a study of the cost savings associated with this and concluded it was 21 percent.

Bottom line, there is not a good argument, except for near-term dollar issues, there is not a single good argument why we wouldn't have competition where the F-35 engine is concerned.

I appreciate the ranking member and the chairman of this committee and both of the relevant subcommittees strongly supporting having competition where the F-35 engine is concerned. I appreciate the support that I have received for my amendment with regard to National Guard uniforms.

I reserve the balance of my time.

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