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Public Statements

Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2013

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. PALAZZO. Madam Chair, I rise in opposition to this amendment.

Just this past weekend, I had the great honor and privilege to send over 150 young men and women off to Fort Bliss to prepare for their final training to go overseas. This is the 857th Engineering Company. Their mission is horizontal construction, which is pretty much they're going to be clearing roads. As we know, that's one of the most dangerous missions in Afghanistan.

Now, I was too busy shaking hands and talking to families and others to notice what I would probably have seen in the parking lot, and that would have been a lot of bumper stickers. On those bumper stickers, there wouldn't be faces or political advertisements--of course, I wish there would be some--but it was more numbers: number 3, number 11, number 24, number 14. Most likely, there would have been a few number 88s out there, which is the car Dale Earnhardt drives for NASCAR. So with that, right now there is absolutely no reason this Congress should be telling the Department of Defense how and where to spend money on recruitment.

Sport sponsorships have continually been a major source of recruitment and provided a great deal of return on investment. The only other option is to spend more on recruitment and retention bonuses. As my colleague just mentioned, when they fall below a certain number, they spend billions of dollars, and we're not talking about billions of dollars. So this actually saves taxpayers' money so we can continue to find the young men and women to serve in our Nation's military.

As it currently stands, the National Guard cannot advertise on television, which significantly limits their opportunities to reach the audience that they want to reach. This is an effective program that remains a key tool for our National Guard and other branches of our military services.

This bill is already taking serious cuts from advertising and marketing budgets for the Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, and National Guard accounts. They have all been cut significantly already before this amendment. There is no reason why we should continue to tie their hands by cutting more funds from the budget.

These sponsorships provide the ability to market and create branding opportunities and familiarity with the service branches in areas where market research shows that the target audience spends its time. For example, data shows that NASCAR fans are very large, up to 70 million--I think that's a low number--very patriotic, very pro-military fan base, and are extremely loyal to sponsors of teams and drivers. This is exactly who we want joining our U.S. military.

Madam Chair, we are currently dealing with very serious cut to our military because of sequestration. This is not the time or the place to be cutting the tools that our military is using to recruit the very best, patriotic young people who want to serve our Nation in the military.

The military is maximizing their resources to fulfill their mission at home and abroad. If this wasn't successful, they wouldn't be doing it. I ask that my colleagues oppose the amendment, and I yield back the balance of my time.


Mr. PALAZZO. Mr. Chairman, I rise to oppose the earlier amendment of the gentleman from Illinois (Mr. Quigley). The gentleman from Illinois had an amendment to cut $988 million from the Navy's DDG-51 program. The members of the House Armed Services Committee have carefully considered this shipbuilding program. We have met for months in the Seapower Subcommittee and discussed it thoroughly with Navy leadership.

The DDG-51 is the Navy's preeminent surface combatant. It can conduct multiple missions, including ballistic missile defense, and it has proven itself in almost every theater in which it has operated.

This ship has been authorized with a multiyear procurement strategy for DDG-51s, which is an important, cost-saving measure that the Navy has used in multiple situations to save money for the taxpayer.

This is one of the most successful shipbuilding programs ever in the United States Navy because it is one of the best built and best values for the taxpayer and requires a fair and open competition for contracting.

Right now, our Navy has the lowest shipbuilding totals in generations, and many predictions are that the number is only going to shrink further. As we pivot to the Pacific, we cannot afford to be cutting additional ships from our budget.

It is extremely important not only to our economic security, but also our national security. I urge my colleagues to oppose this amendment, and I yield back the balance of my time.


Mr. PALAZZO. Section 8121 constitutes legislation because it requires that the Secretary determine what qualifies as ``semiprofessional,'' ``a sporting event,'' and ``mixed martial arts.''

These are not terms that current law requires that the Secretary know, thus, imposing these determinations upon the Secretary violates clause 2 of rule XXI.

I ask for a ruling from the Chair.


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