Chairman Rogers Statement in Support of H.R. 4870, the Fiscal Year 2015 Defense Appropriations Bill

Jun 18, 2014

House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers gave the following statement on the House floor today in support of H.R. 4870, the Fiscal Year 2015 Defense Appropriations bill:

"Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of H.R. 4870, the Department of Defense Appropriations bill for FY 2015.

"This bipartisan legislation provides $491 billion in discretionary funding for our highest national duty – the security of our country, the sustainment of our military operations, and the well-being of the brave men and women of our Armed Forces.

"The bill before you today will help meet the most pressing needs of our military as we address current and arising threats to the safety of our nation in an ever-changing global landscape. It also takes into account the ongoing challenges of our current fiscal situation, finding ways to trim excess funding and reduce lower-priority programs without negatively affecting our troops or the success of our military missions.

"Providing our military with the highest standard of readiness is a top priority in this bill. This includes procuring important equipment and resources, supporting troop training and flight time, and maintaining our bases and facilities. The bill marks investments in important defense technology R&D to help advance the safety and success of our military operations now and into the future. Investments like these will help to preserve our military’s status as the most effective and capable in the world.

"The backbone of our military is, of course, the brave men and women who lay their lives on the line in defense of this nation. With that in mind, the bill fully funds the authorized 1.8 percent pay raise for our military – instead of the 1 percent as requested by the President.

"Troop housing costs are also fully funded as authorized. This ensures that our more than 1.3 million active-duty troops and 820,000 Guard and reserve troops have the quality of life they deserve during their service.

"$31.6 billion is included for the Defense Health Program, to ensure a consistent and strong quality of care for our troops, their families, and retirees. Within this total, the bill includes increases above the President’s request for cancer research, traumatic brain injury research, psychological health research, and suicide prevention outreach programs.

"The bill also provides an increase of $50 million above last year for Sexual Assault Prevention and Response programs – helping to address this growing challenge within our forces.

"Lastly, the bill provides $79.4 billion in Overseas Contingency Operations funding to support our troops in Afghanistan.

"As we have yet to receive an official budget request that reflects the most current and anticipated status of our troops in the field, this OCO funding will undoubtedly require further evaluation, particularly with the developing situation in Iraq and the Middle East.

"By prioritizing these vital programs, closely scrutinizing the budget request, and assessing the most current needs, the FY15 Defense Appropriations bill ensures the best use of our limited federal dollars. We made careful, targeted reductions wherever possible without adversely affecting the safety of our troops or the ongoing success of our military missions.

"Mr. Chairman, as of today, we have completed 10 Appropriations bills through subcommittee, 8 through full committee, and have begun or completed consideration of 6 bills on the floor.

"We are moving at a remarkable pace – and if our colleagues in the Senate continue their good work as well, we stand a great chance of completing this important work on time.

"This is an even greater achievement because we have done so under regular order – with open rules that have allowed every Member to have his or her voice heard. Over the 5 bills we’ve considered on this floor so far, we have had more than 200 amendments – and I’m sure we will add to that tally today.

"We have taken great care to weed out waste and excess, and to terminate duplicative programs. This year alone, we’ve eliminated funding for dozens upon dozens of programs, saving the taxpayer hundreds of millions of dollars. We have found savings in each and every bill. And we have done all of this while abiding by the law set into place by the Ryan-Murray budget agreement.

"Before I yield, I would like to acknowledge the expert work of Chairman Frelinghuysen, Ranking Member Visclosky, and the entire Subcommittee. This is Chairman Frelinghuysen’s first bill at the helm of the Defense Subcommittee, and I believe he has done a fine job taking care of the needs of our military and our national security.

"I would also like to thank the staff for their time and effort getting this bill to the floor today. We could not be making this great progress on our Appropriations work without them.

"With that, I encourage my colleagues to continue our historical work on the Appropriations bills, and approve this bill today. Thank you, and I yield back."