Congressman Tim Griffin (AR-02) issued the following statement after the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for FY 2013:
"This defense bill ensures that America's national defense capabilities remain the best in the world while recognizing the realities of our fiscal imbalance. In addition to targeting waste and prioritizing defense spending to protect hardworking taxpayers, it also shields our military servicemembers from President Obama's proposed TRICARE increases and invests in the resources needed to keep our Armed Forces ready and strong. This bill is especially important in light of the $487 billion in cuts to the defense budget enacted last August. We must continue to ensure that we don't weaken our military while we spend scarce and precious taxpayer dollars more wisely. This defense bill achieves that balance."
Included in the NDAA are several provisions specific to Arkansas:
Last year, Rep. Griffin introduced the Honoring Ezeagwula and Long (HEAL) Act (H.R. 2683), which would award Purple Hearts to the two soldiers who were shot in 2009 while serving at the Little Rock Recruiting Station. Griffin successfully worked with his colleagues and was successful in including similar language in this year's NDAA.
"I fought to have this language included in this year's NDAA because I remain focused on ensuring Pvt. Quinton Ezeagwula and Pvt. William Long receive the honor of a Purple Heart for their sacrifice. These men were victims of terrorism, targeted because they were soldiers, and they deserve this recognition," Griffin said.
Griffin was successful in including in this year's NDAA language that will preserve C-130 Avionics Modernization Program (AMP) funding, and requires the Obama Administration to perform a comprehensive cost-benefit analysis for the Congress to review.
"I've become increasingly concerned by the Obama Administration's inability to fully explain their decision to kill the C-130 AMP. We owe it to the servicemembers at Little Rock Air Force Base and the hardworking taxpayers of Arkansas to ensure that the right decision is made and until the Administration provides sufficient data, the C-130 AMP should be preserved," Griffin said.
In addition, Griffin successfully advocated for an amendment to prevent the transfer of the Air National Guard's A-10 aircraft away from Fort Smith until an economic analysis is produced for Congress.
"The 188th Fighter Wing is home to the Flying Razorbacks and employs nearly 1,000 Arkansans in both full- and part-time capacities. They have consistently responded when called to defend our nation, are the favorite air cover of many ground troops and are an outstanding value for the hardworking American taxpayer. If saving money is the goal, the removal of A-10s from Fort Smith simply doesn't make sense."
Griffin also supported an amendment that would prohibit an additional Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) round from being proposed, planned for or executed during FY 2013.
The NDAA was passed by HASC and now will be sent to the full House for further consideration.