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National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2006

Location: Washington, DC

NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT FOR FISCAL YEAR 2006 -- (House of Representatives - May 25, 2005)


Mr. PAUL. Mr. Chairman, I rise in strong support of this amendment.

Some Members wonder why I would support this amendment, considering the fact that I am the most fiscally conservative Member of Congress and vote for the least amount of spending. But I think this amendment is a good amendment, and I think the closing of these bases represents bad policy. I do not have a base in my district that is being threatened to be closed.

Let me tell Members why I think this is a mistake. First, I think the process is very poor. I think we are ducking our responsibility. To turn this responsibility over to a commission and duck the responsibility of facing up to making tough decisions, I think, is something we do too often. Too often in the Congress, we do things we should not be doing, and we forget to assume the responsibilities we have. In this case, I think we are not assuming the responsibility to face up to making this tough decision.

It is claimed we will save $5 billion a year on base closings. We spend $5 billion a month in Iraq. We are spending nearly a billion dollars in building an embassy in Iraq. We are going to build four bases in Iraq that are going to be permanent, costing tens of billions of dollars. I think we have our priorities all messed up.

I think that it makes a lot more sense to keep a submarine base in Connecticut and keep a deep seaport in Ingleside, Texas, than it does to be closing these down and at the same time building bases up around the world.

I think the savings issue is a red herring. Between 1995 and 2001, the last base closing, $6.5 billion was spent, and $6.1 billion was saved. So we are spending more money than we are saving in closing down these bases.

I have a quote here I want to read; it comes from a think tank, one of the defense policy think tanks. This to me is important. "The big story here is not going to be saving money; the big story is going to be preparing the force for future threats by moving it to more logical locations." In other words, defending our borders, protecting our homeland, worry about defending this country is less important than spreading our troops and protecting the empire and expanding the empire and exposing us to greater danger.

This is an issue of policy. This is an issue of process, and this is a red herring when you think you are saving money. We are not going to be saving money in this process. We are just going to be giving an excuse to build bases around the world.

This is the time that we ought to reassess our policies and how we spend our money. This is why a 1-year delay is a perfect time to take time, stand back and figure out when we are going to get our troops home, when are we going to have a defense policy that defends this country and our borders rather than spreading ourselves so thinly around the world and building huge bases in foreign lands.

That, to me, is the real issue. I hope we take deep consideration and support this amendment.


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