March 8, 2017
House Appropriations Committee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen spoke on the House floor today in support of H.R. 1301, the Fiscal Year 2017 Defense Appropriations bill.
The text of his statement follows:
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to present H.R. 1301, the Defense Appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2017.
In total, this bill provides $577.9 billion in funding for the Department of Defense - $516.1 billion in base discretionary funding, and $61.8 billion in Overseas Contingency Operations and Global War on Terrorism funding. When combined with the funding provided in the continuing resolution supplemental enacted in December, total Defense funding for FY17 equals $584 billion – consistent with the topline provided in the National Defense Authorization Act, and $10.9 billion more than fiscal year 2016 levels.
My Colleagues, strengthening our national security and rebuilding our military starts today - with this agreement - the first step after years of cut-backs.
Our Armed Forces and Intelligence Community are currently operating under a Continuing Resolution – which denies them stability and predictability, both of which they have not had. H.R. 1301 provides that stability – removing Defense funding from C.R. autopilot, preventing further damage to our national defense and providing additional support for our men and women in uniform, and their families.
Our troops serve with honor in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, South Korea, Japan, across the Baltics, the Sinai, Africa – on the ground, in the air, aboard ships across the globe.
Mr. Speaker, this agreement rejects the troop reductions proposed by the previous Administration, providing for increased end-strength levels authorized by the NDAA – 1.3 million active-duty troops and 813,000 National Guard and Reserve troops, all of whom work as one “team.”
Our bill also fully funds the authorized 2.1% pay raise and provides increased funding for Defense Health Programs to ensure full care for warfighters, their families, and military retirees.
This agreement also ensures that our Armed Forces have the training and equipment they need to conduct successful missions. Funding is increased for key readiness programs that prepare and train our troops and that modernize essential military installations. It reverses the previous Administration’s cuts to procurement, providing for additional production of state-of-the-art aircraft and ships.
In addition, we enhance cyber and ISR programs – capabilities our combatant commanders badly need.
This legislation reflects Congressional priorities. We took into account the views of each and every Member who worked with us throughout the process. This is a bipartisan, bicameral agreement that deserves the support of this House.
I would like to thank Chairwoman Kay Granger for her efforts in bringing this bill to the floor today, and for taking over the leadership of the Defense Subcommittee in January. I would also like to thank the Subcommittee’s Ranking Member, Pete Visclosky, for his contributions to the bill. He has been an excellent partner throughout this process, and I’m grateful for our strong working relationship. In addition, I commend Nita Lowey, the Ranking Member of the Full Committee, for her partnership and commitment to completing our Appropriations work.
Lastly, I want to thank the staff of the Defense Subcommittee – both minority and majority – as well as our personal offices and the full Appropriations Committee for their tireless work putting this bill together. In particular, I would like to acknowledge Will Smith and David Pomerantz – the outgoing staff directors for the Appropriations Committee majority and minority. Both have made immeasurable contributions to this Appropriations Committee and this institution, and we are indebted for their service. We thank you and we wish you the best.
Mr. Speaker, today, our nation faces a dangerous, and unpredictable world. At the same time, our Armed Forces are struggling to have our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines fully trained and ready to meet every conceivable threat. That important work starts with this bill.
I urge support of the agreement and reserve the balance of my time.