DeFazio Votes for Defense Spending Bill
Early Sunday morning, U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Oregon) voted in favor of H.R. 3222, the fiscal year 2008 Department of Defense (DOD) appropriations bill. The appropriations bill includes money for a variety of important benefits for our troops, equipment, weapons systems and research and development programs. It does not contain any funding for the ongoing U.S military campaign in Iraq. Congress may consider a separate Iraq-related spending bill in September.
"With this bill, Congress is beginning to meet the needs of our military personnel past, present and future," said DeFazio. "Among many good provisions, H.R. 3222 will ensure our National Guard personnel have the equipment they need, improve compensation for all our military personnel, and grow the size of our armed forces to relieve the burden on our overstretched forces."
"I am also gratified that the bill includes funding for several projects in Oregon that will improve our nation's defense manufacturing base, provide protective equipment for our troops and research defense technologies of the future," continued DeFazio.
H.R. 3222 includes several provisions to improve benefits for our troops and military retirees, such as:
A 3.5 percent across-the-board pay raise, higher than proposed by the President, plus additional money for targeted bonuses.
$22.957 billion for the defense health program, $416 million above the President's request. Among other things, this funding will help improve the Pentagon's electronic medical records and foster better coordination between the DOD and the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Blocks the $1.9 billion in fee increases proposed by the President to shift more of the cost of health care services onto the backs of active duty and retired military personnel.
$1 million for state-of-the-art Ballistic Helmet Liner Kits for Army National Guard made by an Oregon-based company. This funding was requested by DeFazio and other members of the Oregon delegation.
H.R. 3222 includes funding guidelines for critical equipment and programs, such as:
$925 million to address equipment shortfalls in the National Guard and Reserves. This amount meets the requirements identified by the National Guard Bureau Chief.
$4 billion to cover the equipment costs of growing the Army by 7,000 new members in FY08, in order to help relieve the burden on active duty and reserve forces.
$2 billion to cover the equipment costs of growing the Marines by 5,000 new members in FY08.
H.R. 3222 includes funds for important projects in Oregon requested by Representative DeFazio, including:
$2 million for the Oregon Nanoscience and Microtechnologies Institute (ONAMI) Tactical Energy Systems. ONAMI is a collaboration between government, industry and higher education and is located on the campuses of and combines the strengths of Oregon's major research universities: Oregon State University, Portland State University and the University of Oregon. This funding will be used to continue a project with the Army to conduct research and product development that will provide miniaturized tactical energy systems for a range of Army applications. Such man-portable energy systems minimize the logistics requirements of field operations.
$1 million for the ONAMI Nanoelectronics and Nanometrology Initiative, which will be used for research focused on developing methods and techniques for work on the nanoscale that are needed for both the fabrication of electronic and photonic devices and circuits as well as for tracking their reliability under operating conditions, especially under the harsh environments endured in military applications.
$2 million for the ONAMI Safer Nanomaterials and Nanomanufacturing Program, which will be used to develop nanomaterials and nanomanufacturing methods that simultaneously meet the military's need for high performance materials, protect human health, and minimize harm to the environment.
$1 million for the Northwest Manufacturing Initiative, which will help enhance our domestic industrial base to ensure that future defense projects can be sourced to companies here at home rather than overseas. The program will develop innovative and cost effective approaches to the repair, manufacture and improvement of parts, components and products as well as train a new generation of defense workers.
H.R. 3222 also:
Prohibits the establishment of permanent U.S. military bases in Iraq.
Prohibits military and intelligence personnel from engaging in torture.
Increases funding for key DOD contractor oversight agencies in order to crack down on the widespread waste, fraud, and abuse in defense contracting.