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Public Statements

Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2012

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. YOUNG of Florida. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

I first would like to thank the gentleman from Washington (Mr. Dicks), the former chairman of the subcommittee, for the complete cooperation that we had with each other in preparing this very nonpartisan, nonpolitical Defense appropriations bill for 2012.

The base budget of this bill is $530 billion, which is $9 billion below the President's budget request. It was not easy to find the savings, but we were determined to find those savings without having any adverse effect on the warfighter or the readiness of our Nation.

The base bill is $530 billion. In addition to that, rather than having a supplemental for Iraq and Afghanistan, we included a section that is referred to as OCO, the Overseas Contingency Operation, which is $119 billion. The bill includes no earmarks for Members' districts. The bill contains no money for Libya because none was requested. The administration did not request money for Libya. We asked numerous times what their plans were, how long it might take, what the cost might be. We did not get an answer until just very recently. And they said, No, they did not request any funding, and they were basically going to make up the balances by a reprogramming. They would not ask for a supplemental, but they would reprogram some of the existing funds.

It's a good bill. I wish it had more money in it for certain areas. I would like to have seen a much larger pay raise. We provided the necessary funding for the 1.6 percent pay raise for the military, which was the authorized level and the requested level, but we just had to find that $9 billion. The staff had to work extremely hard to make sure that we did not have an adverse effect on any of our soldiers or our overall readiness.

The bill provides $32 billion for the Defense Health Program. We understand the needs of our soldiers that are wounded. There are, unfortunately, too many of them. We have provided what we think is adequate money to care for whatever their medical requirements, their medical needs are. And it includes considerable research into medical issues. The research is important because a lot of the injuries that came out of Iraq and we are seeing come out of Afghanistan are such that in previous wars, the troop would probably not have survived. But because of advancements in medical care, because of the research, because of advancements in medicines, because of the ability to remove the casualty from the battlefield quickly and get to a hospital quickly, we're saving the lives of many of our troops that would probably not have survived in previous wars.

We include funding for the construction of 10 Navy ships. We include money for 32 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft. We include $3.3 billion for 28 F-18 Super Hornets and 12 EA-18 Growlers, $2.8 billion for 116 H-60 Blackhawk helicopters, and $699 million for the Reaper UAV, which is an advancement of the Predator. I'm trying not to go into too much detail because it is a very lengthy bill.

The reductions that we made in order to achieve the $9 billion in savings, we took favorable contract pricing adjustments, contract and schedule delays resulting in fiscal year 2012 savings, unjustified cost increases, or funding requested ahead of the anticipated or historical underexecution of contracts, rescissions of unneeded prior year funds, and reductions that were authorized in the House-passed 2012 National Defense Authorization Act under the chairmanship of Chairman McKeon. Specific reductions include $435 million in savings from those contract and production delays in the AMRAAM system. We will provide for the Record the details of all of the areas where we took the savings.

All in all, it is a good bill for the money that we had available. There are things that we would have added. We would have increased the military pay raise. We just didn't have the money. So we went to the authorized level. There's much more to be said that will be said as we read this bill for amendments, which will probably not happen now until we come back after next week's recess.

I reserve the balance of my time.

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Mr. YOUNG of Florida. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself the balance of my time.

Again, I want to thank Mr. Dicks for being such a good partner and working in a bipartisan way to guarantee that we did the best we could with the money we had available to provide for the national defense. I would say again, we have not had any impact adversely on any of our troops and we have not adversely affected the readiness of our country, while we have taken some of those slush funds and some of those wasteful funds, we did take some of those, in order to achieve the $9 billion in savings that we were required to achieve.

The bill is lengthy. As you can hear from the various speakers, there are many, many, many parts of this bill. The specific details of the bill have been available for over 2 weeks so that Members have had every opportunity to study the bill.

In order to get where we are, it took a lot of work, because, number one, we had to finish last year's bill. That was no fault of Mr. Dicks. He worked hard as chairman last year to produce another very good bipartisan bill, cooperating totally with us on the minority side, the minority at that time. But we didn't get that bill to the floor. I wish that we had, but it didn't quite make it.

So this year we finished the work for FY 2011, and now this is the bill for FY 2012. Again, it is a strong, bipartisan, no-politics good defense bill. But in order to get to this point, to get where we are, required tremendous dedication on the part of all of the members of the subcommittee, as well and very specifically as well as the staff. The professional staff of our Defense Subcommittee is very, very special and works extremely hard. I would like to call attention to that staff.

On the minority side, Paul Juola, who also worked on the majority side at one point, and Becky Leggieri. On the majority staff, Brooke Boyer, Walter Hearne, Jennifer Miller, Tim Prince, Adrienne Ramsay, Ann Reese, Megan Rosenbusch, Paul Terry, B.G. Wright, Sherry Young, and the chief of staff, Tom McLemore.

They have done a tremendous job. I know that oftentimes when the House finished its business and Members would retire to their respective homes, staff stayed and they did the analysis that had to be done to achieve the savings that we achieved, but also to make sure that we accomplished what had to be accomplished to provide for our troops, to provide for their welfare, to provide for the readiness of the Nation.

I said in my opening remarks there were other items, other things, other parts of this bill that I would like to have increased. I would like to have been able to increase the pay raise that goes to our military. The money just wasn't there. But we did insist on funding the full 1.6 percent, which doesn't sound like a lot. At least it's not a reduction.

Mr. Chairman, this is a good bill. We're not going to vote on this bill tonight. We will read this bill--it's my understanding now from leadership--for amendment under the 5-minute rule the week after next and we'll be prepared to, again, in a bipartisan way, deal with any issues that might come up at that time.

I yield back the balance of my time.

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