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Conference Report on H.R. 1540, National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012

Floor Speech

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Ms. BORDALLO. I wish to thank Ranking Member Smith for his support for Guam, and I thank the gentleman from New York (Mr. Nadler) for yielding.

Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong opposition to H.R. 1540, the conference report accompanying the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012. If I were able to vote on the final passage of this legislation, I would vote against this bill.

The bill completely ignores the important efforts that this administration has taken to better posture our military forces in the Pacific. Furthermore, we undercut efforts, significant efforts, by Prime Minister Noda, in Japan, in trying to achieve progress with the development of a Futenma replacement facility.

I am deeply concerned about this bill because there is constant talk in this Chamber about recognizing the importance of the Asia-Pacific region, and now we are going in the opposite direction. People discuss their concerns about the potential threats posed by both China and North Korea. Yet when this country and this administration ask the Congress to act in our best national interest to realign forces in the Pacific, we blink. We are all talk and no action on this very important issue. I understand the budget realities that we currently face; but we must make the necessary hard choices and investments now, or it will cost more money and time in the long run.

That said, it is important for our partners in Japan to continue the progress they are making to begin the construction of a replacement facility for Futenma in northern Okinawa. It is important for Prime Minister Noda to continue to show leadership and present an environmental impact statement to the Governor of Okinawa by the end of this year. In addition, we must have further progress toward the permitting of a landfill so that we can finally move forward with this realignment. Right or wrong, the patience of those in the Senate has run out, and it is important to have more action and less rhetoric in Okinawa.

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Ms. BORDALLO. The cuts to infrastructure funding on Guam are simply punitive, and they fly in the face of the unified action by both the House and Senate appropriators. This Congress has uniformly stated that infrastructure improvements are needed on Guam to sustain any type of additional military presence. Yet once again, our rhetoric does not match our words.

I will continue to work to make sure that we get funding to address critical infrastructure needs. As such, I urge all of my colleagues to vote ``no'' on this legislation.

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