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. FRELINGHUYSEN. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman for yielding me this time.
Mr. Chairman, I rise in strong support of this military construction appropriations bill and would like to commend the gentleman from Michigan (Mr. Knollenberg) and the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Edwards) for their good work on this legislation.
I would also like to voice my specific support for those provisions of this bill which continue the critical ongoing renovation of military housing. In my district in northern New Jersey, the Army through its Residential Communities Initiative has selected a developer to privatize and revitalize military housing at Picatinny Arsenal. Looking at the larger RCI program, Picatinny's participation is relatively small. We have approximately 113 affected families, but the refurbishment of their houses and homes will have a deep impact on their quality of life. For them this debate and the chairman's leadership has indeed a very human face. These military families care about leaky roofs, substandard plumbing, and ancient electrical wiring.
Mr. Chairman, we in Congress can do several things to support our young fighting men and women who serve our country with such dedication, because literally we are a Nation at war. We can make sure they have adequate pay and benefits. In this regard, we have made significant progress in recent years. We can also ensure that their retirement benefits meet their needs when their service is over. Again, we continue to work to improve veterans programs, but we can and must work to improve the day-to-day quality of life that they have. In this regard, there are few things more important to military personnel than where they live and the quality of the roof over their heads.
This legislation contains important provisions which will allow the continued revitalization of military housing. I would urge the Committee on the Budget to allow this program to continue and to support the bill as it was drafted.