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Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2013

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. CRENSHAW. I thank the gentleman for yielding, and I rise in strong support of this legislation.

Let me first say thank you to the chairman, Chairman Young, and Congressman Dicks, the ranking member. Thank you not only for your leadership in bringing this bill to the floor, but thank you for your spirit of cooperation, your spirit of bipartisanship, which has pervaded our subcommittee. As we bring this before the full House, I think there is great agreement among those that serve on the subcommittee.

When you stop and think about the fact that national security is probably the number one responsibility of the Federal Government, the only way to keep America safe is to keep America strong, and I think this bill does that. Now, you'll hear people say, you just heard people say, why do we need to spend so much money on defense, the Cold War is over, we're pulling out of Afghanistan, we're no longer going to be in Iraq; why don't we just kind of pay a peace dividend?

Well, as Chairman Young just pointed out, we are in the midst of a program where we are reducing spending on national defense. We looked at every agency. The Federal Government said you've got to do more with less, you've got to tighten your belt, and the Defense Department is no different.

We're in the middle of actually reducing spending $487 billion over the next 10 years. Then, of course, we face this draconian cut of sequestration. I think that we have got to keep in mind that it is the number one responsibility. We ask our troops, ask our military to do things. We certainly have the best trained and the best equipped military in the history of this world.

But you look at our Navy, for instance. We have half as many ships as we had 30 years ago, half as many, and yet we're asking them to do so many things. Sure, the ships are more technologically advanced. Sure, we've got better trained people. But stop and think about it. When you ask the Navy to go out and interdict drug runners in the Caribbean, and you say chase the pirates off the coast of Somalia and send a carrier into the Mediterranean, guard the Strait of Hormuz when Iran rattles its saber, conduct humanitarian missions down in Haiti, and, by the way, keep an eye on the Pacific Rim, because that's where China is flexing its muscle, remember, numbers matter. The world is no smaller.

We still haven't solved the problem of how do you have one ship in two places at the same time. So it's important that we continue to provide the resources that we need to have a strong national defense.

I think this bill does that. I think we should all support this.


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