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Providing for Consideration of H.R. 2219, Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2012

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. NUGENT. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of H. Res. 320 and the underlying legislation, H.R. 2219, which appropriates funds for the Department of Defense for fiscal year 2012.

The rule is a truly open rule, one which provides for ample debate on the bill and gives Members of both the minority and the majority the opportunity to participate in debates. Any Member can submit an amendment to H.R. 2219 as long as it's germane, in keeping with the rules of the House.

As a member of the Rules Committee, I'm proud of the transparency, the openness, and the free-flowing debate that we've seen thus far in the 112th Congress, especially in the appropriations process. One way we can show our commitment to the change we promised the American people is by supporting open rules like this one. The underlying bill keeps our promise to bring an end to wasteful pet projects. In keeping with the House earmark ban, H.R. 2219 doesn't contain a single earmark.

Now, as a father of three sons all currently serving in the United States Army, this bill is of special importance to me. It's important to the Blue Star moms and dads whose kids have answered the call of duty and are serving their country in uniform. But this legislation isn't just important to the moms and dads and husbands and wives of the loved ones serving overseas. This legislation is important to all Americans. This appropriations bill ensures that the men and women in our Armed Forces are equipped with the tools and the resources they need to get the job done. It's a bill that ensures we can continue to go to bed at night and be safe and sound in our homes, knowing our troops are protecting our Nation and our way of life.

Mr. Speaker, I had the honor and privilege of visiting Iraq and Afghanistan and Pakistan during the last constituent work week. While there, I got to meet many military leaders, our allies, but, most importantly, our troops on the ground. I saw with my own eyes the equipment they're working with and the environment that they're working in. I saw what they had and heard about what they needed to get their jobs done. And this legislation is vital to giving our men and women in uniform the resources they need to perform their mission and, more importantly, to get them home safely.

Mr. Speaker, while I support our troops no matter where the President sends them, I also believe we need to focus on the wars we're already fighting. To that end, I'm sorry there aren't restrictions on using these funds in Libya. I thank Chairman Young and Ranking Member Dicks for not appropriating for further hostilities in that country. We can't stretch our resources so thin that we ultimately end up tying the hands of our troops.

Finally, Mr. Speaker, I would like to take a minute to discuss the rule's commitment to budgetary transparency. The budget resolution adopted earlier this year included specifically delineated funds for operations related to the global war on terror. This fund is capped at $126 billion. The intent of the budget language was to preserve these funds specifically for the war on terror and to ensure that the money wasn't diverted for unrelated programs.

Previous majorities have used similar constructs for the exact same purpose. Additionally, in previous Congresses, the Budget Committee chairman was prepared to advise the Chair that in terms of spending levels, it is impermissible to use funding for the global war on terror to offset increases in spending elsewhere in this bill. The same is true this Congress. Section 2 of the rule codifies the budget resolution's intent and the past practices of this House. The rule prohibits funding for the global war on terror from being used to pay for operations of any other kind. This provides transparency and accountability as to exactly how much money is being spent on the global war on terror, rather than counting the funds as an off-budget emergency spending program.

With that, I encourage my colleagues to vote ``yes'' on the rule and to vote ``yes'' on the underlying legislation.

I reserve the balance of my time.


Mr. NUGENT. Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the gentleman from Florida (Mr. Hastings). I agree with a lot of what he said.

We talk about Pakistan, and I just came from there. We talk about the threat that the Taliban that are hiding in Pakistan pose to our troops in Afghanistan, and we talk about that every day. We talk about the inaction of the Pakistani military and the ISI in particularly rooting out those that are killing more U.S. troops in Afghanistan than anything else.

I would like to see more direct involvement as relates to Pakistan and their military on accountability issues that Mr. Hastings brought up, about the ability for us to make sure that if they're going to be allies in this fight against terrorism and particularly against the Taliban, that they truly are.

But in regards to this bill, the underlying legislation, this is $9 billion less than what the President of the United States requested for military DOD allocations this year, for 2012, $9 billion less than the President's request. And some of it is to restock our National Guard and Reserve units that have been decimated over the years in regards to fighting wars in two different countries. It's about giving our troops a pay raise. It's about taking care of their medical needs and research in regards to providing medical care for those that are in the military. And guess what? That also then bleeds out into the civilian world in regards to those applications that are developed in the military.

It is about our core mission. The Constitution is clear about our core mission in regards to national defense. It talks specifically about this Nation and what this responsibility is of this Congress in regards to national defense.

I said earlier what does trouble me is that, in this, our chairman did a great job of not putting funding in to fund any more incursions into Libya, but it doesn't restrict it right now. And there's going to be discussion on Libya coming up later today.

But I've got to give credit to the chairman of the committee, of the subcommittee, in regards to appropriations that they really have crafted a piece of legislation that has bipartisan support in that committee. There's bipartisan support across the board in regards to where we need to go in regards to keeping this Nation safe against threats, known and unknown, in the future.

I reserve the balance of my time.


Mr. NUGENT. Mr. Speaker, I support the rule and the underlying legislation, and I encourage my colleagues to support it as well.

I know that since I've come to the House, I've gotten up here and talked time and time again about our government's core mission. There is no doubt there is nothing more central to the purpose of government than to provide for our Nation's defenses. It's in the Preamble of the Constitution: Provide for the common defense. It's in the oath we took when we were sworn into office to defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.

H.R. 2219 fulfills our constitutional duty to provide for our Nation's defense. Additionally, H. Res. 320 ensures that we will review this legislation completely in an open and transparent manner that all American people deserve to see.

Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time, and I move the previous question on the resolution.


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