Chairwoman Lowey Statement at Full Committee Markup of FY 2021 Defense Funding Bill
WASHINGTON — 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 2021 Defense bill:
Before I begin, I would like to take a moment to recognize my dear friend and colleague Chairman Visclosky. Sadly, this is his last Defense markup.
Pete grew up in a household in Gary focused on public service. From his time as a staffer to being elected in 1984, no one has fought harder for the people of Indiana, and the need to domestically manufacture products.
Our country is stronger as a result of his advocacy for steelworkers, and Pete is a model of dedication, integrity, intelligence, and honor. As I mentioned in my subcommittee remarks, the lives of our service members are better because of your leadership. I especially thank you for your partnership during my time as Ranking Member and Chairwoman of the Committee. We will miss you and wish you the best. Thank you.
Turning to the bill before us today, I thank Chairman Visclosky and Ranking Member Calvert for their work and commend the subcommittee staff for their long hours and dedication.
As we continue to process the devastating physical, psychological, and economic impact of this pandemic, we are reminded that safety and security are fragile. We know that we live in a dangerous world, but also recognize that the choices we make to stay safe need to be reasonable and responsible.
This bill provides the Defense Department with the appropriate level of resources to address an evolving threat landscape and to ensure the security of our nation and our allies. It ensures that our servicemembers are well-trained and equipped and that they are prepared for future military needs. We have the most capable and advanced military in the world, and this bill honors their mission by adequately funding programs to care for servicemembers and their families, and by including provisions to end the Trump administration’s theft of defense funds to pay for a wasteful border wall.
Specifically, this bill strengthens national security with robust funding to support ongoing operations and maintenance of existing assets. It procures the latest military systems while investing in research and development needed for future capabilities, especially the growing needs of cyberspace. And, it provides support for our allies and defense partners. I applaud the subcommittee for including provisions that prohibit explosive nuclear weapons testing. Collectively, these investments bring safety to our nation and forces.
The bill also ensures a higher quality of life for our service members and their families, including access to medical care and an increase in important health initiatives and research. It supports the critical need for childcare and excellent schools for our military families. It also provides critical funding to address the scourge of sexual assault.
Supporting our national security and finding reasonable and responsible common ground is a bipartisan issue. I hope we will enact a final bill that reflects that tradition.
I congratulate Chairman Visclosky on a good bill and urge support.