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Public Statements

Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2013

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. McHENRY. Madam Chair, I certainly appreciate my colleagues, Ms. McCollum and Mr. Kingston, and what they're trying to achieve, and I certainly support paring down the budget where it is appropriate and where it actually saves money.

My colleague references some numbers that come from the Army. The Army is getting out of this type of sponsorship. The numbers that I want to give you are from the National Guard that intends to stay in this form of advertising for recruiting purposes and also for building goodwill among the American people.

This sponsorship program that the National Guard has, in one form, one very specific form of sponsorship that they have, as well as a number of others, but this one form of sponsorship for NASCAR, the National Guard saw a nearly 300 percent return on their investment. Now, that comes from $68 million in media exposure. It comes from 5.5 million pieces of merchandise and apparel that has ``National Guard'' on it, which has a value of roughly $70 million. This is a huge return for the buck. This is why Fortune 500 companies actually advertise through NASCAR--not because it feels good, but because it delivers results.

And the fact is that no matter the size of the military, you're going to still need recruits. And the fact remains, if we look at the example of 2005 where the Army didn't meet their recruiting goals, what we had to do is increase the budget for retention. So the fact of cutting one area of recruiting means that in a couple of years we'll have to actually pay more for retention in order to keep the same folks in the National Guard that we currently need.

Furthermore, back to this one particular form of advertising, I think it's highly inappropriate for this Congress to get into the business of specifying how best the National Guard, or whatever branch, should spend their dollars on recruiting.

The Appropriations Committee has done a yeoman's task of making sure that we scrub the Department of Defense budget from top to bottom. I think this is a very strong and good appropriations bill. It does have bipartisan support. But let's face it, when we start micromanaging advertising programs to try to recruit National Guard members, we've sort of slipped into the absurd.

The National Guard, from the experience that they've had in NASCAR advertising in particular, they generated 54,000 leads. I wish my colleague had referenced that other than these other numbers that you referenced before, which I think are a good reason why the Army is not continuing with that program. They didn't design it appropriately, apparently. But the National Guard has got a huge bang for the buck and has actually gotten recruits because of this form of advertising.

I would encourage my colleagues, if they voted ``no'' on the McCollum amendments last year--there were two different amendments that deal with this very same issue. If they voted ``no'' on those two amendments, they need to vote ``no'' again.

Madam Chairman, I would say this again. If you voted ``no'' on those two amendments that are structurally the same, vote ``no'' again. I would encourage my colleagues to do that, and I yield back the balance of my time.

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