July 30, 2008
Passes Subcommittee- Contains Noteworthy Funding for Troops
WASHINTON, D.C. – In a closed meeting today, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense approved its Fiscal Year 2009 funding legislation for the Department of Defense. The approved version of the bill contains a total of $487.7 billion, which is $4 billion short of the President’s request.
“In the current global climate, having a strong military is the best way to keep our country secure and we must provide adequate funding for our troops to do their jobs,” Appropriations Ranking Republican Jerry Lewis said.
Lewis indicated that in contrast to the Defense bill, most other Appropriations bills approved through subcommittees have seen substantial increases above the President’s request. For example, the Labor, Health and Human Services Appropriations bill is $7.6 billion above the President’s request, and the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations bill is $4.3 billion over the President’s request.
“We must always strive to be good stewards of the taxpayers’ dollars and insist that they are getting the most for their money. This bill represents a substantial increase over last year, but cutting the funding from the Defense request to funnel it elsewhere should not be the priority,” Lewis continued.
Yet, Lewis said, the Defense bill is a good piece of legislation with bi-partisan support. It contains noteworthy funding for our troops and critical Defense and national security programs, including a 3.9% pay increase for the military, $1.4 billion for troop facility and barracks repairs, $3.6 billion for Future Combat Systems (FCS), and $1 billion for National Guard and Reserve equipment. But, Lewis said, Members of Congress should be given the fair opportunity to debate the bill and make improvements.
“As with all Appropriations bills, the Defense bill should be subject to the normal and proper legislative process, which includes an open amendment process in full Committee and the floor of the House. This will allow all voices to be heard so that the American taxpayers and our men and women in uniform get the fair shake they deserve,” Lewis continued, “I am also pleased that Chairman Obey and Chairman Murtha have agreed to move this important bill as quickly as possible through the regular appropriations process when we return from August break.”