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Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2012

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. Mr. Chairman, I would like to associate myself with your remarks and those of the ranking member. This is a good bipartisan bill carved out of an allocation that I would have preferred be higher; but we, too, on this subcommittee must do our part to lower the Federal deficit.

This bill deserves our strong support because, as the chairman said, and others, it has an important pay raise in there for all of our troops who are volunteering. It also provides more first-class medical care for those that are injured. It provides more money for ships, 10 new ships--two of them being Virginia class submarines--additional money for fighter aircraft, which are badly needed, and as was mentioned earlier, $1.5 billion for the National Guard equipment for both overseas and home State missions. Remarkably, this money was not requested by the administration.

I also want to take a minute to reflect on the collective bipartisan frustration many are feeling with the administration's handling of the Libyan operation, another of what we might call ``overseas contingency operations.'' We will debate the nature of our national interest on Libya tomorrow as we consider measures that go to the heart of Congress' constitutional role to declare war.

But here this evening this committee is in the process of developing an incredible spending program for fiscal year beginning in October. I understand there are no funds designated for Libyan operations in this bill. However, in reality, this Libyan mission, whether NATO-led or not, is heavily dependent on U.S. assets, and these assets must be accounted for by our committee.

We are all aware that our chairman, Mr. Young--and he referred to it in his remarks--since April 1 sought information from the administration about, first, the nature of the mission in Libya; two, the cost of the mission; three, the length of the mission; and, four, any anticipated changes to the mission. We are also aware that the President finally responded with his June 15 letter to Congress in which he reports that the Department of Defense has spent over $750 million over the last 3 months, $10 million a day in Libya. Mr. Chairman, the President errs when he fails to provide this committee with accurate, timely, and precise information about any mission.

In closing, Mr. Chairman, I support this mark, I support this bill, and I thank the chairman and the ranking member and the committee staff for the great work they've done.


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