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Public Statements

Conference Report On H.R. 2346, Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2009

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. Mr. Speaker, if the defense portion of the supplemental were considered as a stand-alone legislation it would receive my support and the majority of those on this side of the aisle. We recognize that we need to provide our deployed men and women, all volunteers, with the funding and resources they need to accomplish their important ongoing missions in Iraq and Afghanistan. But unfortunately, the majority has added items to this measure totally unrelated to these wars.

First, the much-debated IMF provision, which interestingly enough, allows our country drawing rights for the first time in the history of the IMF.

Secondly, the majority stripped language from this bill that would have prevented release of photographs of detainees, thus endangering U.S. citizens and members of our own Armed Forces overseas.

Thirdly, the majority inserted watered-down language on the closing of Guantanamo Bay, allowing for these dangerous prisoners to be brought to the U.S. for trial 45 days after the Obama administration submits certain paperwork to Congress. These all represent reasons to vote ``no,'' to send this legislation back to the drawing board, and to come back with a straightforward bill that supports our troops.

But I want to use this time to talk about the direction of our national security funding, our defense spending. If you believe the administration, this will be the last supplemental appropriations bill to fund our operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, even though our forces will remain in Iraq for a significant number of years and our efforts in Afghanistan are just now ramping up.

The administration says it's putting such costs for future soldier needs into the base appropriations bill. However, it doesn't take a green eyeshade to determine that the administration's request, combined with the rate of inflation, essentially adds up to no growth. We're standing still. We're treading water.

And in a world where the North Koreans threaten conventional nuclear war, Russia is becoming more resurgent and aggressive, and China is rapidly increasing its aggressiveness.

For these reasons, I rise to oppose this conference report.


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