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Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2012

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. HOYER. Mr. Chair, last month, the House voted against defunding the American military mission in Libya. That was the right decision, and it still is: along with our NATO allies, we intervened in Libya in response to Moammar Gadhafi's violent repression of his own people, and the explicit promise of worse to come. It's also important to remember that Gadhafi has more American blood on his hands than anyone other than Osama bin Laden. And we must remember that we intervened in response to calls from the Arab League, the United Nations, the European Union, and a unanimous NATO.

Our allies have taken the leading role in Libya, but it is crucial that America continue to support them. It's crucial because the campaign against Gadhafi has made significant progress, which would be dramatically set back by a sudden withdrawal of American support; because that sudden withdrawal of support could endanger civilian lives and stall democratic movements across the Middle East; and because it would represent a failure to keep faith with our NATO allies. As I said the last time this issue came to the floor: either we are in an alliance, or we are not. And if we are, that means supporting our allies in their time and place of need, so that they will continue to do the same for us--a principle that is especially important when civilian lives are at stake. I urge my colleagues to oppose this amendment.


Mr. HOYER. Mr. Chair, last year, Congress voted to repeal the counterproductive and unjust policy of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell.''

But despite overwhelming evidence that repeal will strengthen our military, despite strong support for repeal among our troops and the American people, despite support for repeal from military leaders like the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and despite a Federal court order that the Government stop enforcing DADT immediately, Republicans are still pushing to keep this shameful policy in place.

Under DADT, 13,500 gay men and women were discharged simply because of who they were. These were troops who had served our country honorably and bravely; 1,000 of them filled what the military calls "critical occupations,'' such as engineering and interpretation of languages like Arabic and Farsi.

Our closest allies--countries like Britain, Canada, and Israel--know better than to throw that kind of service and expertise away.

Yet the amendment offered by Mr. Huelskamp would force our military to stop training its Chaplain Corps to prepare for the repeal of DADT. This amendment would substitute Congress's micromanagement for the judgment of our military leaders on training issues, and it is a transparent attempt to interfere with the repeal of DADT in any way possible.

The amendment offered by Ms. Foxx is in a similar vein. It would prohibit defense appropriations in contravention of the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA.

DOMA is discriminatory and should be ruled unconstitutional--but as long as it is law, it clearly applies to all Federal agencies, including the Defense Department.

That makes this amendment entirely unnecessary. Let's see it for what it is: Republicans' effort to change the subject from open service--an argument they've lost--to marriage equality--an argument they're still in the process of losing.

I urge my colleagues to oppose both amendments which put partisan belief in the exclusion of gays above the strength of our military.


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