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Conference Report on H.R. 2055, Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2012

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. DICKS. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

The Department of Defense appropriations bill is part of this package:

This bill includes the base funding of $518 billion, a reduction of $21 billion below the President's budget request;

The bill also provides $115 billion for overseas contingency operations, $2.8 billion below the budget request;

The bill balances funding essential for U.S. troops and their families with readiness, weapons acquisition, and technology development;

For military personnel and family programs, the bill includes full funding of the military pay accounts, including a 1.6 percent pay raise for our troops. For community support programs, the bill includes $40 million above the request for Impact Aid and $250 million to replace inadequate schools located on DOD bases that are owned and operated by our local educational authorities and by the U.S. Department of Education;

For readiness, the bill includes $163 billion for operations and maintenance. With this account, the bill includes $150 million above the request for ship depot maintenance and $34 million to fully fund the Reserve Officers' Training Corps program;

For procurement and research programs, the bill includes $255 million to prevent the shutdown of the M-1 tank production; $1 billion for National Guard and Reserve equipment; $200 million for Rapid Innovation Funding; $230 million to procure equipment needed to enhance special operations; $130 million above the request for ongoing cooperative missile defense programs with Israel; and $100 million above the request to mature technologies for the next-generation bomber;

For overseas contingencies, the bill includes $115 billion, $2.8 billion below the request and $43 billion below 2011. The decline compared to that of last year reflects the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. The bill provides for the withdrawal of U.S. personnel from Iraq by the end of this month; the operation of U.S. forces in Afghanistan; and programs to train and equip Afghan security forces so they are capable of assuming security responsibility.

This bill is essential to maintaining the readiness and capabilities of U.S. forces. It provides for the need of our men and women in uniform and their families. The bill also includes responsible reductions from the budget request, recognizing the fiscal realities that our Nation faces. This is a must-pass bill, which I support.

Again, I commend Chairman Young and the staff of the Defense Subcommittee for their extraordinary work. This is the largest appropriations bill. It is essential to national security.

With that, I reserve the balance of my time.

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