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Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2006

Location: Washington, DC

DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2006 -- (Extensions of Remarks - June 22, 2005)

MONDAY, JUNE 20, 2005

The House in Committee of the Whole House on the State of the Union had under consideration the bill (H.R. 2863) making appropriations for the Department of Defense for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2006, and for other purposes:

Mr. MATHESON. Mr. Chairman, for the past few years, I have voted to redirect funding in support of smart bombs and other weapons that are actually usable against hardened, deeply buried targets. I'm pleased to see that this appropriations bill provides funding for conventional studies to defeat hard and deeply buried targets. I also understand that the funding provided within this bill for B2 bomber integration efforts is also intended for non-nuclear earth penetrators.

Last month, the National Academy of Sciences concluded that the use of a nuclear "bunker buster" would cause massive civilian causalities if used. That's assuming we can overcome serious design problems and assuming we can live with the consequences of putting U.S. troops in danger from radioactive fallout if we ever used an RNEP or a similar weapon.

In the past, Utahns suffering from cancer as a result of radioactive fallout exposure had to wait to receive compensation because federal funds ran out. It's wrong to spend precious dollars on unusable fantasy weapons that our military doesn't seem to need or want.

We live in an era when terrorism and national security concerns dominate the political landscape, as well they should. We should focus limited funding dollars on usable warheads that can actually make a difference in combating our enemies.

I have always been a strong supporter of the military and I'm well aware of the unconventional war we face against terrorists. However, the threats we face as a nation provide the best reason for Congress to fund only the best usable weaponry to support American soldiers.

Many of my colleagues in the House recognize the importance of this issue and they share my concerns about competing efforts in the Senate to fund RNEP. I hope that during conference negotiations on this bill, the conferees maintain this language.

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