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National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014

Floor Speech

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Ms. LORETTA SANCHEZ of California. Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to this amendment. I understand my colleague's concern with the shortfall in the Department's operations and maintenance accounts, but that's really a product of sequestration.

What we are really talking about is innovation here. Innovation generally doesn't happen in the big companies. It happens in the small companies, the companies that are able to move quickly so that we get what we need. That's what the RIF program is about. This is not an earmark. In fact, just yesterday, the pre-notification for the fiscal year '13 process was released. It said: ``Any and all companies can put forward proposals.'' That's not an earmark.

The RIF process contributes to cost savings to the services' training activities. In fact, the Navy added ``cost reduction'' as a critical focus area in the fiscal year '12 Rapid Innovation Fund broad agency announcement. Several of these selected RIF projects actually seek to reduce operations and maintenance costs to include the cost of training.

I urge a ``no'' vote on this amendment.

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Ms. LORETTA SANCHEZ of California. Mr. Chairman, I thank the ranking member.

I rise in opposition to this amendment. Congress is of course outraged over the ongoing cases of sexual assault and sexual harassment occurring in our military. There's no one in this Chamber who doesn't believe that criminals should pay for such violent and atrocious crime, and so I understand why my good colleague on the other side would offer such an amendment.

I'll say several things. First, I'm pretty much opposed to mandatory minimum sentences in general. But this base bill, the base bill that we're considering today, the committee requires the Department of Defense to provide a report on mandatory minimums and sentencing guidelines in order to make sure that such sentencing reforms will not discourage the victims from reporting.

And in addition to that, in the base bill, if you are convicted of these crimes, you will be dishonorably discharged. So in order to avoid imposing laws that may harm victims, I urge my colleagues to vote against this amendment.

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