Chair DeLauro Statement at Full Committee Markup of Fiscal Year 2022 Defense Funding Bill

2021-07-13 14:20

Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Chair of the House Appropriations Committee, delivered the following remarks at the Committee's markup of the fiscal year 2022 Defense bill:

Thank you to Chair McCollum and Ranking Member Calvert for your work on this bill and for your commitment to protecting the American people. I would also like to thank the subcommittee, full committee, and personal office staff for all their hard work in drafting this legislation.

As a nation, we are deeply indebted to our women and men in uniform, and to the families and communities who support them. This bill honors their service and responsibly invests in our national security.

It provides $705.9 billion in total funding, a modest increase over last year that both Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Joint Chiefs Chairman Mark Milley have said is sufficient to protect our nation and to deter threats. This funding level, in conjunction with the State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs (SFOPS) appropriations bill, demonstrates our commitment to security, diplomacy, and development.

First and foremost, this legislation promotes democracy by countering the People’s Republic of China with strong funding to protect a free and open Indo-Pacific and deters Russian aggression with funding to support our allies and partners around the world, particularly in Eastern Europe.

As we responsibly draw down our military presence from Afghanistan, this bill provides $25 million for the transport and safe passage of those Afghans who provided faithful and valuable service to the United States but who unfortunately now face serious threats. These brave individuals risked their lives to promote the security of the American people and in return it is our moral imperative to protect them.

And this legislation addresses the existential threat of climate change, which is stoking conflict around the world while threatening the viability of our military installations. I am proud that this bill confronts the climate crisis head-on with historic investments for clean energy and climate adaptation to protect facilities, readiness, and global security.

Across this bill, funding is heavily tilted towards research and development with a focus on preparing our military for the threats of tomorrow. The investments in this bill are essential to maintain our domestic advanced manufacturing base, which sustains millions of American jobs.

And as we sustain these jobs, we must ensure that no one who supports our military is forced to live in poverty. That is why I am so proud that this bill lifts up hard-working American families by requiring federal contractors to pay a $15 minimum wage.

Finally, I am particularly grateful that this bill takes action to address gender-based violence and extremist ideologies in our armed services. Particularly, with new leadership and the funding in this bill, the Pentagon can finally stop pervasive sexual assault in the military, which has often been swept under the rug.

The investments in this bill are critical for the safety of our nation and the well-being of our defenders. I thank Chair McCollum, Ranking Member Calvert, and the staff for their work and I strongly urge my colleagues to support this bill.

117th Congress