Chairwoman Lowey Statement at Subcommittee Markup of FY 2020 Defense Funding Bill

2019-05-15 09:19

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

Thank you, Chairman Visclosky and Ranking Member Calvert, for your hard work on this bill. I appreciate the subcommittee staff for their long hours that make this bill a reality.

This week, we continue our work on an orderly appropriations process that gets the people’s business done on time. House Democrats are working to strengthen our national security and support our service members and their families.

National defense is of paramount importance, and our committee’s commitment to securing American interests at home and abroad should transcend party lines. The world becomes more dangerous each day, and 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, an increase of $38 million above the request, for Sexual Assault Prevention and Response programs, to reduce incidences of sexual assault for a safer and more inclusive military; and
  • Additional funds for the Services to provide unique options 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 our committee 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 provides additional funds to address readiness requirements with an increase of $1.055 billion.  We also invest more than $9 billion for cybersecurity and other emerging threat responses to make sure we are still outpacing our near-peer adversaries.

The bill also commits to the health of our servicemembers, including an additional $920 million above the request for medical research, of which $155 million would address 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, rather than those imagined by our President.

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.

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

116th Congress