WASHINGTON – (RealEstateRama) — Congressman Ken Calvert (CA-42) delivered remarks on the House floor in support of H.R. 3219, the Make America Secure Appropriations Act. H.R. 3219 includes the appropriations bills for defense, military construction and veterans, energy and water, and the legislative branch.
“Our greatest responsibility as Members of Congress is to provide the resources necessary to the men and women of our Armed Forces,” said Rep. Calvert. “We are at crossroads. Right now, our military continues to operate at a high-tempo to carry out the national security interests of the U.S. However, in order to meet the next challenge – whatever that may be – we must invest now.”
Below are Rep. Calvert’s full remarks as prepared for delivery:
Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of H.R. 3219, the Make America Secure Appropriations Act.
First, I would like to commend Chairman Frelinghuysen for his tireless work to report out all 12 appropriations bills from the Appropriations Committee. He did it in record time and deserves a great deal of credit for getting us to this point today.
The four bills included in H.R. 3219, reflect hours of hearings, staff work, Member input and bipartisan cooperation. I would also like to express my gratitude to the Chairs and Ranking Members of the Defense; Energy and Water; Military Construction and Veterans Affairs; and Legislative Branch Subcommittees.
In particular, the Energy and Water division provides robust funding for water infrastructure — over $67 million to create much needed water storage in the west. I want to thank Chairman Simpson and his staff for their hard work.
As a Member of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, I would like to specially thank Chairwoman Kay Granger for her leadership and her unwavering support of our men and women in uniform. I would also be remiss if I did not mention the professional staff of the subcommittee who dedicated countless hours to craft a bill that meets the needs of the Department of Defense and reflects the will of the Congress.
Our greatest responsibility as Members of Congress is to provide the resources necessary to the men and women of our Armed Forces. This bill includes $584.2 billion in base defense funding and $73.9 billion for Overseas Contingency Operations. It provides for a 2.4% military pay raise and additional funding to increase end strength.
The bill provides robust funding for shipbuilding, aviation, combat vehicles and more. It invests in our greatest asset – the men and women who wear the uniform – through increased funds for training, equipment and the best health care.
We are at crossroads. Right now, our military continues to operate at a high-tempo to carry out the national security interests of the U.S. However, in order to meet the next challenge – whatever that may be – we must invest now. We know the situation we are in:
- National Security Advisor McMaster has stated that the U.S. is outranged and outgunned by potential adversaries.
- Out of 58 Brigade Combat Teams, the Army only has three that are combat ready.
- We have the lowest number of ships since World War I. And while capability is important, the vast oceans of the world desperately need our presence.
- Only seven out of ten aircraft in the Air Force are ready to fly and the average age of aircraft across the Service is 27 years. Airmen are flying the same planes as their grandfathers.
- Only 43 percent of the Marine Corps’ total aircraft inventory is currently considered flyable. Our Marines deserve better.
Today we have a chance to correct the course we have been on for the last eight years. The U.S. Constitution creates a government of the people to “establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.” This bill fulfills the promise enshrined in our constitution to secure the blessings of liberty by providing for the defense of our nation.
Thank you and yield back the balance of my time.