The House in Committee of the Whole House on the state of the Union had under consideration the bill (H.R. 1960) to authorize appropriations for fiscal year 2014 for military activities of the Department of Defense and for military construction, to prescribe military personnel strengths for such fiscal year, and for other purposes:
Mr. ROSS. Mr. Chair, I rise today to thank Chairman MCKEON and Ranking Member SMITH for their hard work on this important legislation, and to speak in support of my amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act.
My amendment is very simple and straightforward--it would prohibit the Department of Defense from using taxpayer funds to provide additional or upgraded recreational facilities for detainees at U.S. Naval Station, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
I cannot help but remember that the federal government wasted $750,000 last year to build a recreational soccer field in Guantanamo Bay for detainees. I thought it was a ridiculous idea then, and I think it is a ridiculous idea now.
At a time when we have an out-of-control backlog of Veterans claims pending a decision--taxpayer funding was wasted building a soccer field for terrorists?
At a time when the President's Administration is proposing to drastically raise TRICARE fees on service members and their families--$750,000 were spent to improve the recreational facilities for terrorist detainees?
At a time when we can't give seniors a fair cost-of-living increase in benefits?
Or at a time when families across the country are making tough cutbacks in their own budgets, we're building soccer fields in Cuba?
Guantanamo Bay is a detention facility for terrorists captured on the battlefield or apprehended actively planning to do harm to Americans.
As such, Guantanamo Bay should not be a place of comfort; rather, it should house the world's most dangerous terrorists in a humane way, providing only the bare essentials.
Our Founding Fathers made it clear that the federal government has no higher duty than to ``provide for the common defense.''
Rather than balancing the budget on the backs of our military, Department of Defense employees, seniors, and families, Congress should prevent wasteful projects like this--period.
Once again, I want to thank the Chair and Ranking Member for their work on this legislation, and encourage my colleagues to join me in passing this fiscally responsible amendment to ensure taxpayer's funds are not used to construct or upgrade recreational facilities for terrorist detainees.