MILITARY CONSTRUCTION APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2005 -- (House of Representatives - July 21, 2004)
The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to House Resolution 732 and rule XVIII, the Chair declares the House in the Committee of the Whole House on the State of the Union for the consideration of the bill, H.R. 4837.
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Mr. KINGSTON. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman for yielding me time, and I appreciate the time and wanted to
stand in support of the chairman's mark on this important bill.
We have been working in the Subcommittee on Military Construction for many years to get this housing privatization project going. To date, we have got about 60,000 houses that are under this program. It has been a huge success. Yet we have something like 160-odd thousand to go. That would be our goal. That would give us about 70 percent of the existing housing units. Big step.
It has been a very, very positive program from Fort Meade to Fort Stewart. Here is a quote that one of the soldiers in our area at Fort Stewart actually wrote us: "There is a maintenance manager here at Fort Stewart, who is undoubtedly the best I have seen in my 20 years in the military. He is responsible for Marne Homes. He is personable, kind, and most of all a man of his word. If he says he'll fix something, he will fix it and he will fix it fast. He'll fix the root of a problem and not just put a Band-Aid on it. I feel better" and perhaps this is the key sentence, "I feel better going to Iraq in a few months knowing he will be here to take care of my family."
That is a strong statement for our soldiers back home, and yet what is the problem here? We have two scoring agencies. One is the Congressional Budget Office. One is the Office of Management and Budget. And this year, for some reason, the CBO, the Congressional Budget Office, changed the way they want to score this.
In essence, what they did is they charged all the money up front. It is the equivalent of going to a soldier and saying, instead of your annual pay being scored on a 1-year basis, we are going to multiply it by the 20 years you are going to serve in the military and we are going to score your pay against you for the whole 20 years. That is what the Congressional Budget Office did. That does not make any sense, but the Office of Management and Budget did not change its scoring. The program has not changed, nor has the committee position changed.
So we should not change as Members of the House. We need to stand with our military. The manager's amendment has fixed this problem for right now. We have got good bipartisan support on it, and we need to move forward on this bill.
So, Mr. Chairman, there are a lot of things that already have been said, which I would like to repeat in my own words, but I am sure my fellow Members of Congress would not mind if I spoke for a little less period of time; but I just want to say that this is what we need to do for our soldiers.
Mr. DICKS. Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman yield?
Mr. KINGSTON. I yield to the gentleman from Washington.
Mr. DICKS. Mr. Chairman, I want to compliment the gentleman on his statement; and when he is right, he is really right. I thank him.
Mr. KINGSTON. I appreciate that. Thanks.