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National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013

Floor Speech

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. FRANK of Massachusetts. Mr. Chairman, this is a bill that illustrates an old saying: Adding insult to injury. The insult is the terms under which we are debating this vast commitment of taxpayer dollars to the most important issue we have--defense.

People will be debating at 11 o'clock tonight, in 5 minutes on a side, very significant issues. We had a few minutes to debate the question of Afghanistan. My colleague, Ms. Lee, and some Republicans will join to try to bring this budget number down to where it should be--$8 billion at least, back to the number of the agreement. And they will have 5 minutes in which to do it. That's outrageous.

Also, it's important to note if this bill goes through, it is a statement that efforts to improve the quality of life at home will be sacrificed to foreign adventures that are ill-fated in many cases.

I read a letter from the chairman of the committee to the Secretary of Defense. He said, Mr. Secretary, if we increase spending here, it won't come out of other national security accounts. Of course not. It will come out of Medicare. It will come out of Medicaid. It will come out of efforts to protect the environment. It will come out of police on our streets.

There is an excess of money here. Afghanistan is a good example. A commitment of 68,000 troops. The gentleman from California complained about what the gentleman from Washington said. It sounded the same to me. They put down 68,000 troops, dictating to the Commander in Chief--or trying to--what it should be.

There is an effort going on in Afghanistan which has gone far beyond what was justified by our national security. There is a commitment to spend more than is necessary on nuclear weapons when the military hasn't asked for them. There are weapons systems here the Pentagon didn't want. And where does it come from? It comes from everything we try to do to improve the quality of life at home.

This is an attack on our ability to provide the funding that America needs for a decent set of conditions here.

No one is opposing adequate national defense. This continues a pattern of overspending. I remember, again, what Rupert Murdoch's Wall Street Journal said, hailing the Republican budget, which this is carrying out. It protects defense so they can cut Medicare and Medicaid and other domestic programs. It's too bad we don't have a decent amount of time to expose the extent to which that is going on.

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