Chair McCollum Statement at Impact of Continuing Resolutions on the Department of Defense and Services Hearing
Congresswoman Betty McCollum (D-MN-04), Chair of the Defense Subcommittee, delivered the following remarks at the Subcommittee's hearing on the Impact of Continuing Resolutions on the Department of Defense and Services.
This afternoon the Committee will receive testimony on the impact of Continuing Resolutions on the Department of Defense and Services. We are joined by:
- Mr. Mike McCord, Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller)
- General David H. Berger, Commandant of the United States Marine Corps
- Admiral Michael Gilday, Chief of Naval Operations of the United States Navy
- General John W. Raymond, Chief of Space Operations of the United States Space Force
- General Charles Q. Brown, Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force
- General Joseph M. Martin, Vice Chief of Staff of the United States Army
I thank all of you for attending, and I would like to mention that Army Chief of Staff, General McConville, cannot be with us because he is attending General Odierno’s (O-Dee-Air-No’s) interment today.
General Odierno was a remarkable leader, and General Martin, I thank you for appearing today on behalf of the Army.
As has been the case far too often in recent years, the government is once again operating under a Continuing Resolution. Today’s hearing will explore the impacts of CRs on our national security, particularly the problems that would be created by a full-year CR for Fiscal Year 2022.
I do not want anyone to have the misconception that CRs merely mean agencies operate under the same funding levels as the previous year. When our subcommittee writes a full year bill, even if the year-over-year total remains the same, we increase and decrease funding for hundreds of specific activities that are essential to the national security of the United States.
Under a CR – none of this occurs. We do not increase spending on critically needed modernization initiatives and new technologies.
And we do not cut spending in areas where it is no longer needed – like sunsetting legacy platforms or ineffective programs that no longer are survivable in a high-end fight.
Simply put CRs are bad for our national security. They increase inefficiency. And they waste taxpayer money.
They are a signal to our troops and the millions of workers in the defense industry that their needs are not a priority.
And at a time when Putin is threatening to invade Ukraine and China continues to be a pacing threat, we do not have time to waste.
Our national security cannot afford more CRs.
Now, among members of this subcommittee, I know that we all want a new, full Fiscal Year 2022 defense bill. But it is frustrating to read quotes such as this from one House Republican published in December – and I quote:
“Republicans should be in favor of CRs until Biden is out of office. That would be the proper Republican thing to do and anybody saying otherwise is deeply foolish.”
That type of thinking is not just asinine – it is dangerous. And I have heard similar comments from other Republicans in recent months.
It puts politics before the men and women of our military, who we ask to do the toughest jobs by putting their lives on the line.
The least we can do for them is get to these funding bills done, and I thank Chair DeLauro for trying to do just that for months now.
So, I urge my Republican colleagues to come to join us at the negotiating table so we can fund the entire government. Because America’s national security is about more than how many dollars we provide the Pentagon.
We also need to make the necessary investments in diplomacy and development abroad – and most importantly – education, health care and the American economy here at home.
So today, I look forward to hearing from our witnesses about how a full-year CR would affect modernization, slow our ability to retire ineffective programs, and be an inefficient use of taxpayer dollars by directing billions of dollars to purposes that are out of date, such as a war in Afghanistan that we are no longer fighting.
We have a lot of cover, so I will now turn to Mr. Calvert for his opening statement.