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Mr. COOPER. I thank my friend and colleague from Washington State for yielding.
Mr. Chairman, I rise in support of the work of the Strategic Forces Subcommittee. I would particularly like to thank Chairman Rogers for his friendship and bipartisan leadership, as well as to thank all of the members of the subcommittee.
I support the many provisions in the bill that strengthen our national security.
The bill, for example, maintains a safe, secure and reliable nuclear arsenal while improving the effective oversight of the National Nuclear Security Administration's cost assessments, efforts and planning.
The bill supports nuclear nonproliferation efforts, including an increase of $23 million to reduce the risk of nuclear terrorism and the spread of nuclear weapons.
The bill increases funding for regional missile defense assets to protect our deployed forces and allies, including important cooperation with Israel against short- and medium-range missile threats.
The bill authorizes defense environmental cleanup activities; and, finally, the bill supports investments in military and space assets.
However, I also should report that I do have reservations about several provisions in the bill that, in my opinion, undermine national security and waste taxpayer dollars.
For example, the bill blocks prudent nuclear weapons reductions, including New START reductions, which would strengthen strategic stability.
The bill increases funding for nuclear weapons by $220 million over the President's already generous budget request.
The bill accelerates the funding of the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense program spending by nearly $250 million, and it jumps to conclusions about east coast missile defense sites against the best military advice of our generals.
Finally, the bill changes NNSA health and safety oversight, undermining the independent oversight of defense nuclear sites related to worker and public protection as well as increasing the Secretary of Energy's authority to fire employees without due process.
I look forward, Mr. Chairman, to debating the merits of these and other provisions of the bill.
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