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

2021-06-30 10:02

Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (CT-03), Chair of the House Appropriations Committee, delivered the following remarks at the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee's markup of its fiscal year 2022 bill:

Thank you, Chair McCollum, and Ranking Member Calvert, for your bipartisan work on this bill and for your ongoing commitment to protecting the American people and ensuring our national security.

As our nation faces many threats around the world – from China and Russia to international terrorism and the existential challenge of climate change – the funding provided in this bill is fundamental to protecting our national security and providing the soldiers and civilians who serve in our nation’s military with the support they need.

After holding 18 hearings this year, this subcommittee has drafted an excellent bill. This legislation provides total funding of $705.939 billion, an increase of $9.978 billion above 2021.  This funding will help protect our nation today and modernize the Pentagon for tomorrow, while working in tandem with our diplomatic efforts through the State and Foreign Operations bill. The increases provided in this bill are in line with President Biden’s budget request and have been endorsed by the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

I asked Secretary Austin directly whether the funding level proposed in this bill will protect our national security, and he assured me that it will. I trust him and our national security leaders that this bill is sufficient to meet the many challenges we face.

One of those threats is climate change. I am proud that this bill confronts the climate crisis with historic investments for clean energy and climate adaptation to protect facilities, readiness, and global security.

Additionally, as one of the largest employers in our country the Department of Defense must support all our women and men in uniform, and the civilians who assist in their operations. This bill also includes provisions to support workers, including raising the minimum wage for contract workers so workers can keep up with rising costs while strengthening and building our economy. This bill includes strong funding to combat sexual assault in the military, a serious and pervasive problem that for too long has been overlooked by the Pentagon. It addresses violent extremism, white supremacy, and other issues that have plagued our military’s ranks. And it supports working families by requiring contractors to pay a $15 minimum wage.

As we tackle these systemic issues, this bill makes critical investments that will preserve our domestic advanced manufacturing base to support jobs and economic growth. The bill’s focus on research and development will help counter China by investing in state-of-the-art technology to ensure there is no capability gap between American and Chinese weapons. Our servicemembers should never enter a fair fight.

As a nation we will always be 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.

Again, let me say thank you to the Chairman and Ranking Member and the staff that makes all of this possible. I urge my colleagues to support this bill.

117th Congress