Congressman Henry Cuellar, (D-Laredo) released the following statement on an amendment he successfully added to the 2014 Defense Appropriations Bill requesting a comprehensive plan to assess excess military base infrastructure overseas, prior to considering the closure of any domestic bases. San Antonio, or Military City USA as it is known, is home to three of the most important United States military bases -- Randolph Air Force base, Fort Sam Houston, and Lackland Air Force Base.
"In light of our current fiscal environment it is critical that we reevaluate our overseas basing infrastructure to ensure we can maintain our operational requirements and strategic commitments abroad while also reducing costs. My amendment to the bill asks for a comprehensive inventory evaluation of our military bases overseas," said Congressman Cuellar, Member of the U.S House Appropriations Committee. "I believe the Department of Defense should assess overseas bases first to avoid the unnecessary closure of U.S. domestic bases. This will help protect our military bases in San Antonio."
Cuellar's district includes parts of San Antonio, a big hub for military business. Back in May, Cuellar along with other members from the Texas Congressional Delegation signed a letter led by Congressman Castro to Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel addressing the excess of infrastructure at military installations. Cuellar's amendment was included in the markup of the FY2014 Defense Appropriations bill in the full Appropriations Committee.
American military forces and installations have a large impact on the economy of our Texas communities. In Texas there are over 250,000 Department of Defense personnel supporting a total economic output of nearly $149 billion. In San Antonio alone, our military bases support nearly 300,000 direct and indirect jobs in the surrounding communities, contributing over $46 billion in economic output.
Congressmen Lamar Smith and Joaquin Castro whose congressional districts also include military bases added:
"I thank Congressman Cuellar for his common sense amendment to protect and prioritize America's military infrastructure here at home. San Antonio is home to many members of our Armed Forces and their families. I am proud to represent Ft. Sam Houston and will continue to promote legislation that supports the brave men and women who make tremendous sacrifices so that all Americans can be free," said Congressman Smith.
"As I said last month when penning a letter to Secretary Hagel, as well as last week when the House Armed Services Committee passed a bill that directs the Department of Defense to give Congress a report on the status of our military capacities abroad, I believe we owe it to our military families to be proactive and identify excess capacity at our overseas bases before we are asked to consider another round of painful and costly cuts back home," said Congressman Castro. "The military installations in Texas and across our nation have a profound impact on our communities. I am committed to being a strong ally and tireless advocate for our military communities. As a representative of San Antonio-- a city recently ranked the most friendly to the military--I look forward to working with my colleagues from both sides of the aisle and across the country to make this issue a priority."
Other members from the Texas Congressional delegation who signed on to the letter include Pete Gallego (D-TX23), Marc Veasey (D-TX33), Lloyd Doggett, (D-TX35), Al Green (D-TX09), Gene Green (D-TX29), Ralph Hall (R-TX04), Ruben Hinojosa (D-TX15), Beto O' Rourke (D-TX16), Filemon Vela (D-TX34), and Randy Weber (R-TX14).