“Mr. Speaker, I rise today to support the the Fiscal Year 2012 Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Act.
“My colleagues on both sides of the aisle can agree that our nation’s service-members, their families and our veterans deserve the greatest quality of care and support for their service and sacrifices. This bill funds their most pressing needs in a timely matter, while also acknowledging the urgent need to rein in federal spending in a time of historically high and dangerous deficits.
“This legislation provides $72.5 billion in discretionary funding for military construction projects, veterans programs and other agencies that support the quality of life of our warfighters and veterans. This funding level represents a $615 million cut from last year’s level and a $1.2 billion reduction from the President’s request.
“The bill fully funds the construction of Department of Defense hospitals and clinics, schools and family housing, providing our military personnel with the resources to effectively advance US missions abroad and the support they need here at home. The bill also protects the health and well-being of our veterans, funding medical care, disability benefits, and education benefits.
“But in addition to adequately funding these programs, the subcommittee also made difficult but responsible choices that eliminate excess spending wherever appropriate. Much of the reduction in this bill comes from savings related to the BRAC process, and from rescissions of previous year funding left over from lower-than-estimated construction costs. The bill also includes provisions for strong oversight over spending.
“Mr. Speaker, cleaning up the way we spend taxpayer dollars will help balance our nation’s budgets, and will show the American taxpayers that we can be trusted with their hard-earned money. We can’t restrict cuts to only some areas of government – all agencies and programs must be held accountable to tighter budgets with more stringent supervision.
“Chairman Culberson and members of the Subcommittee have shown great fiscal restraint and a commitment to real savings in reducing the discretionary spending in this bill below the 2011 levels, while providing the resources our troops and our vets deserve.
“Mr. Speaker, I believe this bill is an excellent representation of the good work we can do in Congress – both as we support our troops and veterans and as we work in regular order to fund our government responsibly. I urge my colleagues to support this bill. Thank you.”