In strongly supporting the United States Military it is important to ensure that our service men and women are the best-trained and most equipped soldiers in the world.
In my work as a senior Member of the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee two themes provide guidance in my purpose: Defending America and Protect the Homeland and Restoring America's Energy Independence.
Defend America and Protect the Homeland
We must provide the most modernized Defense systems and equipment for our forces, including Guard and Reserve units. It is critical our government secure the United States Defense Industrial Base and recapture key defense technologies from foreign outsourcing. Our forces need to be provided with the finest training and up to date equipment.
Restoring America's Energy Independence
The world will see that Northwest Ohio is the "#1 Green Energy Community" in the U.S. and our technology and experience in alternative energy allow us the opportunity to showcase projects that restore our nation's energy independence. It is also our goal to lead our nation's efforts to secure energy independence at all U.S. military bases and installations. We are demonstrating that leadership through Toledo's 180th Fighter Wing and their online 783-kilowatt solar electric generation plant, which last year provided an annual utility savings of $150,000 and was supplied by 99.7 percent local, Northwestern Ohio solar content.
We are also dedicated to the utilization of and specialization in strategic metals, including the construction and recent dedication of a new plant in Elmore, Ohio for the manufacturing of beryllium. In collaboration with the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD), Brush Wellman has constructed a $90.4 million facility to serve as the primary beryllium facility for America's Defense needs. The new facility has been funded by an innovative public-private partnership between Brush Wellman and the U.S. Government through the DOD's Defense Production Act, Title III Program. Under the Program, Brush Wellman will contribute research and development, technology, land and buildings and will provide ongoing operations, while the government will fund the engineering, design and equipment. The facility will produce primary beryllium, the feedstock material used to produce beryllium metal products.
Supporting Our Military Personnel
We have worked to secure expanded health benefits to Veterans, Guardsmen and Reservists, by supporting increases in hardship benefits, imminent danger pay, the elimination of out-of-pocket housing expenses, and family separation allowance. Our efforts must continue on these important issues.
In the current 2011 fiscal year Defense Appropriations bill we have put our troops first, preparing them for whatever emergencies may arise, providing them with first class weapons and equipment, and ensuring that they and their families are well taken care of.
The bill makes critical investments into the health, well-being and readiness of our forces. These recommendations address issues raised by troops, their families and Department of Defense officials in testimony before the Congress, and discovered through visits to military bases across the United States and overseas. The legislation likewise makes a commitment to fiscal responsibility.
Click here for more information about the key investments and provisions in this bill.
Iraq and Afghanistan
I was against war in Iraq since it was first proposed by the previous Administration. The war in Iraq has been ineffective because the U.S. military incursion could not make our country safer or the Middle East any less dangerous. Unilateral military action by the U.S. without broad international support will isolate America from our allies and thrust us into the position of becoming a common enemy in a volatile region where terrorism grows with each passing year.
Nevertheless it is important to remain committed to providing necessary supplies to our brave service men and women serving in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
Buy American Efforts
We have introduced strong Buy America provisions into defense legislation that would assist tool and die manufacturers, foundry operators and machinists to compete with larger defense subcontractors in procuring contracts from the U.S. Department of Defense.
The legislation would establish a technical assistance center to help these small companies work with the Pentagon and strengthen Buy America provisions that demand that at least half the contracts awarded to the defense industry are given to American companies.
Enhancement of the Buy America provisions would stimulate U.S. manufacturing and machine tool industries while maintaining indigenous industrial base capabilities that would be used in times of war rather than depend on foreign suppliers for the production of key critical components.
Our employers are having a hard time competing with low-wage competitors in the Far East. We need a strong industrial base in America, and healthy small tool and die companies are essential to keeping that base strong.