CONFERENCE REPORT ON H.R. 5631, DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2007 -- (House of Representatives - September 26, 2006)
BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. Mr. Speaker, I thank the chairman for yielding.
Mr. Speaker, taking Mr. Murtha's admonition, I rise in strong support of the bill and especially draw attention to the need to get the money out the door through the bridge fund.
* [Begin Insert]
Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of H.R. 5631, making appropriations for the Department of Defense of FY '07.
I commend the leadership of the Committee--Chairmen LEWIS and YOUNG, and Ranking Members OBEY and MURTHA--for their hard work in producing well-balanced bill that meets the needs of our warfighters today and lays the foundation for a strong national defense in the future.
This conference agreement provides $447.6 billion, including $70 billion in ``bridge funding'' to support our missions in Iraq, Afghanistan, and global war on terrorism.
The total is about $4.1 billion less than the President's budget request, but it is over $19 billion more than last year's DoD appropriations act.
Yet still, within this limited allocation, the conference report provides important resources for our warfighters:
F/A-22 Raptor--$2.7 billion to procure 20 F-22s next year, nearly double what was requested by the Administration.
F-35 Lightening Joint Strike Fighter--almost $5 billion for development and procurement of the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF).
Hercules Cargo Planes--$787 million for nine Air Force C-130Js, and $243 million for Marine Corps KC-130Js.
New Assault Ship--$2.6 billion for two of the Navy's next-generation surface combat ship, the DD(X).
LHA Amphibious Assault Ship--$1.1 billion for the LHA Amphibious Assault Ship.
Attack Submarine--$2.5 billion, equal to the administration's request, for procurement of the next Virginia-class new attack-submarine.
The conference report provides $9.4 billion for missile defense programs--$110 million more than the President's budget request, and almost $1.6 billion (20%) more than current funding. We also provide for the initial deployment of a national missile defense system based in Alaska and California.
Future Combat System--Appropriates $3 billion for the Future Combat System, the Army's most high profile weapons modernization program. However, this figure is $320 million less than requested.
The bill provides funds for increased protection for U.S. troops in Iraq, including $725 billion for personnel protective gear, such as body armor; $5.6 billion for more up-armored Humvees, other tactical wheeled-vehicles and other equipment expended in Iraq and Afghanistan; and $1.5 billion to counter improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
While these are the highlights of this important conference report, I would like to focus on the ``Bridge Fund.'' The conference recommendation includes $70 billion in emergency funding for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
My colleagues, the standoff-weapon of choice for the insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan is the IED--the roadside bomb, the suicide bomb, and recently in Afghanistan, the ``bike'' bomb.
Our enemy is aggressive, creative, and dangerous and this bridge fund contains $1.9 billion for the Joint IED Defeat Organization of the Department of Defense in order to stay one step ahead in protecting our warfighters.
The Commander's Emergency Response Program (CERP) is provided $500 million to help combatant commanders secure the peace by addressing emergency civilian needs in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Another $3.2 billion is provided to train and equip Iraqi and Afghan security forces--a vital mission that will allow American forces to hand over security responsibilities as soon as possible.
RESET--ARMY AND MARINES
Mr. Speaker, all of the resources in the ``bridge fund'' are important. But I would like to highlight the $5.8 billion to ``reset'' the Marines and the $17.1 billion provided to reset the Army. This funding is needed to fully equip deploying forces and to provide new and refurbished equipment for returning units.
Of the funds provided for the Army, $2.94 billion is for the Army Guard and Reserve, including $500 million to continue the effort initiated last year to outfit the Army National Guard with the equipment it needs for homeland defense and disaster response.
Mr. Speaker, the battle we wage in Iraq and Afghanistan is a tough battle. We're proud of the job of the Army and the Marines who are carrying the fight. But our forces are tearing up equipment at an alarming rate and without this re-set funding, we run the risk of witnessing the return of a ``hollow Army'' that cannot serve our national interests.
Mr. Speaker, the very foundation of our national security is not weapons systems or vehicles or munitions. No, our primary asset in the global war against terrorism is our warfighter--the brave young men and women of our armed forces who are protecting our homeland every day.
This conference report supports an active-duty force of 482-thousand Army soldiers, 340-thousand Navy personnel, 334-thousand Air Force pilots and airmen and 175-thousand Marines.
I am pleased this bill provides for another pay hike (2.2%) for our warfighters.
This House should be proud of this legislation. It provides our fighting men and women with the resources they need to be: more deployable; more agile; more flexible; more interoperable; and more lethal in the execution of their missions.
It provides for: better training; better equipment; better weapons; and better paychecks for the troops and support for their families at home.
I am pleased to support this legislation and the warfighters who proudly wear our Nation's uniform.
BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT