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Joint Explanatory Statement to Accompany the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. McKEON. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself the balance of my time.

I want to thank the other committees who worked closely with us all year and members of the Armed Services Committee once again. Especially I want to thank our staff directors, Bob Simmons and Paul Arcangeli. They have worked tirelessly, as have all of these other people that have been putting in countless hours to get us to this point.

This legislation addresses a wide array of policy issues, including supporting operations in Afghanistan, strengthening our partnerships in the Middle East, reinforcing our capabilities in the Pacific, combating sexual assault in the military, enhancing missile defense, and maintaining this Nation's nuclear deterrent.

Though the significant cuts to the defense budget continue to have a profound effect on readiness, our modernization programs, and the defense industrial base, the bill adequately sustains training, critical assembly lines, shipyards, and manufacturing expertise to keep our wartime military properly prepared, equipped, and supplied. Each of these efforts is important for the security of our homeland and our allies.

We have worked on a bicameral, bipartisan basis to get this legislation done. It is my sincere hope that we can continue working together to limit the damage to our military and their readiness resulting from sequestration.

What we are considering here today is a step in the right direction. It is a solid product thoroughly debated and deliberately considered. I urge my colleagues to support and vote in favor of this legislation.

As Adam said, we have a great partnership. I think the thing that makes our committee work so well together is it is not about jobs. Sometimes people say, well, we just have a defense so that we can provide jobs. We have a defense because the Constitution says that we provide for the common defense. We have to be kind of the ones that keep the ceilings open, the skies free, this Nation free from terrorism.

I talked to General Odierno, the Chief of our Army last week, and he said in 2008, the budget for the U.S. Army was $250 billion. This year, it is $150 billion. For people who are saying we are really not cutting, we are just slowing the growth rate, we are cutting. The thing that has been most affected is our readiness, and that is what causes lives to be lost because our troops aren't getting sufficiently trained before they go to Afghanistan, before they go into harm's way. This budget will help. I talked to General Dempsey yesterday, and this will help them get back on their feet in readiness.

I want to thank Adam for his true friendship and partnership, and I encourage all of our colleagues to vote for this bill, to sustain the efforts of those who are willing to put themselves in harm's way to protect us.

I yield back the balance of my time.


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