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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. PENCE. Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to the efforts to eliminate the engine competition for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. In the interest of full disclosure, let me say how proud I am of the more than 4,000 Hoosier employees of Rolls Royce who worked to develop this engine. But that is not why I am here.

I am here because I really do believe, as the Heritage Foundation has cited, that the essential choice between us today is competition or sole-source contracting. Either we can require two companies to engage in head-to-head competition each year for the next 30 years, or we can give one company a sole-source contract worth $100 billion for the next 30 years. Which do you think is more in the interests of the taxpayers?

Oppose this amendment.

I rise in opposition to efforts to eliminate the engine competition for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

In the interests of full disclosure, let me say first how proud I am of the more than 4,000 Hoosier employees of Rolls Royce, which teamed with General Electric to develop the F136 engine for the F-35.

But let's look at the facts regarding this competitive engine program, which began 15 years ago and today is 70 percent complete,.

History tells us that competition serves the taxpayer well and this is no less the case when it comes to fighter engines.

In its study, the non-partisan Government Accountability Office found that the F-16 engine competition yielded savings of 21 percent in overall lifecycle costs. Using that as a model, we might anticipate a 20 percent benefit from the JSF engine competition, but it would only need to generate 1 percent to 2 percent cost benefit to recoup the remaining investment needed to complete the F136 program.

In addition to the outstanding opportunity for cost savings, competition also improves operational readiness and contractor responsiveness.

Building the F-35 using two interchangeable engines from two separate manufacturers provides insurance against fleet-wide engine problems down the road. As the Heritage Foundation noted recently, without the F136, it is estimated that by 2035 nearly 90 percent of our fighters will use a single engine, the F135 baseline engine.

A competing engine program also hedges against the risks posed by testing failures, required redesigns, cost growth and delays in the primary engine program. And because it is a follow-on program, the F136 provides growth paths for propulsion systems and technological innovation that can address problems that arise such as potential aircraft weight growth.

The essential choice before us is between competition and sole source contracting. Either we can require two companies to engage in head-to-head competition each year for the next 30 years--or give one company a sole source contract worth $100 billion for the next 30 years. Which do you think is most likely to control costs and deliver the best engine to the American taxpayer?

The answer is clear: competition provides an important cost-control mechanism in defense procurement, it encourages innovation, and mitigates risk.

I urge my colleagues to support competition and military flexibility, and oppose the Pingree Amendment.

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Mr. PENCE. I'm pleased to yield to the gentleman from New Jersey for a parliamentary inquiry at any time.

I rise in opposition to the Murphy amendment.

Let me say I do so because I believe the American people don't want to see the American military used to advance a liberal political agenda, especially when the men and women who serve in the military haven't had a say in the matter, and they have been promised to have a say. We've received correspondence from leading voices in the American military who have suggested, were the Congress today to enact this legislation, it would break faith with our men and women in uniform.

Now, let me concede to the point. I was raised by a combat veteran. I did not wear the uniform of the United States, but I have strong objections to repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell. I believe that that compromise of 17 years ago has been a successful compromise. It has preserved unit cohesion. It has preserved morale. It has enabled us to go forward with readiness and recruitment without interruption. It, of course, itself, was a compromise that represented an historic change from the policy of the American myth.

Yet what is being advanced here today in repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell would represent a fundamental change in the nature and in the culture of our military. It ought to be carefully and thoroughly explored among the men and women who are doing the work in uniform, and it is being explored today.

The Department of Defense has commissioned, as we all know here, a confidential survey of some 350,000 servicemen and their families--100,000 active duty, 70,000 duty spouses, 100,000 reserve component military, 80,000 reserve component spouses--to determine their input on the effects and concerns if Don't Ask, Don't Tell is repealed. Yet here we are in Congress, even though this survey will not be completed until August and the report, itself, will not be delivered to Congress until December, and we are hurrying along what is, for all intents and purposes, the legislation that will enable the full repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

I urge my colleagues in Congress to take a breath, to stop, particularly here, as we stand just a few days before that day in which we, all of us, Republicans and Democrats, will set aside all politics, and we will remember those who did not come home.

Why can't we today also show respect for the men and women who wear the uniform today and listen to what they have to say?

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Mr. PENCE. I urge my colleagues to oppose the Murphy amendment.

Let me say again: The American people don't want the American military used as a vehicle to advance a liberal political agenda, especially when the men and women who serve in our military haven't had a say in the matter. That is what this Congress is poised to do today. Make no mistake about it.

I urge my colleagues, regardless of what one thinks about social issues and social values, to respect our military. Let's respect men and women in uniform. Let's hear them out before we introduce such an enormous change in the culture and in the practice of the American military, one that would be represented by the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

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