Chairwoman Lowey Statement at Full Committee Markup of FY 2020 Defense Funding Bill

2019-05-20 14:16

Congresswoman Nita M. Lowey (D-NY), Chair of the House Appropriations Committee, delivered the following remarks at the Committee's markup of the fiscal year 2020 Defense bill:

I thank Chairman Visclosky and Ranking Member Calvert for their work on this bill and thank the staff for their long hours to make this bill a reality.

In a dangerous world, we must be united to ensure our armed services have the equipment, training, and resources to succeed at every level.

Among the most important aspects of readiness is the well-being of our service members and their families. I am proud this bill includes:

  • A 3.1% pay raise for our troops;
  • $297 million to reduce incidences of sexual assault for a safer and more inclusive military; and
  • Additional funds for the Services to address childcare needs for our service members.

While quality of life for service members is of utmost importance, we must also provide certainty to our troops. Last year, we enacted a spending bill on time, an accomplishment applauded by every leader who testified before the Defense subcommittee this year.

Yet the Administration’s misguided budget request undermines that certainty by shifting nearly $100 billion into Overseas Contingency Operations, a mechanism meant to fund our wars, not base requirements like operation and maintenance programs.

Instead, the Defense subcommittee has put forward a responsible spending bill that increases funds by $1.055 billion to address readiness requirements. It would also invest more than $9 billion for cybersecurity and other emerging threats to ensure we outpace our near-peer adversaries.

The bill also commits to the health of our service members, with robust funding in medical research to treat conditions like traumatic brain injury and psychological health.

Having funds to make advancements in new domains of warfare and maintain existing systems is necessary to address the threats our nation faces. This bill would prohibit the use of funds for President Trump’s wasteful border wall, reserving DOD resources to protect the United States from actual threats, rather than those imagined by our President.

This reflects a commitment to our national security for which we can all be proud. I urge support.

116th Congress