Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2019

Floor Speech

Date: June 27, 2018
Location: Washington, DC
Issues: Defense

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Mr. VISCLOSKY. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the last word.

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Mr. VISCLOSKY. Mr. Chairman, I yield to my colleague from Illinois for a colloquy.

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Mr. VISCLOSKY. Mr. Chairman, I appreciate the gentleman's comments and acknowledge his expertise as a fellow member of the Nuclear Security Working Group.

I am grateful that Mr. Foster has raised the important subject of nuclear smuggling and for his continued commitment to addressing nuclear security issues. We must be relentless in developing the technologies that will help us identify and counter nuclear smuggling before dangerous materials fall into terrorist hands.

The 2018 Nuclear Posture Review acknowledges the importance of nonproliferation and countering nuclear terrorism. But I do not believe the document is forward-thinking enough when it comes to developing a plan to address future threats. We must continue to invest in research and development of nonproliferation technologies so we will have the tools that we need to keep our Nation secure in an increasingly complex nuclear environment.

Again, Mr. Chairman, I appreciate the gentleman's raising it, and I yield back the balance of my time. Amendment No. 25 Offered by Mr. Gallego

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Mr. VISCLOSKY. Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition, but I do not plan to oppose the amendment.

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Mr. VISCLOSKY. Mr. Chair, I would like to use my time to express a note of caution to my colleagues. First, I am on record encouraging the Navy to look into constructing two aircraft carriers simultaneously. I understand the Navy is in the process of evaluating potential savings from a two-carrier buy, and I look forward to seeing that report.

Secondly, I support the Navy's fleet. Whatever the correct number may be in the end, the Navy definitely needs to have more ships to meet its mission. However, the construction of ships is very expensive. Even with the potential savings from a two-carrier buy, the expected cost of those ships would probably exceed $10 billion apiece. We also have a bulge coming up in the Navy's shipbuilding plan, as construction of the Columbia-class ballistic missile submarine gets underway.

I am not opposed to increasing the Navy's shipbuilding budget in future years, but it needs to be done in a manner that is in step with the industrial base and strategic needs of the whole Department of Defense.

Unfortunately, this body and the other body did not waive the last 2 years of the Budget Control Act. So I remind my colleagues that it is terrific talking about building more ships that we don't have the money for. The fact is, next year, this bill, left uncertain, will have $71 billion less in it, if the restrictions of the Budget Control Act are not changed.

I also would point out that two of my colleagues, who will very briefly be offering another amendment, are also cosponsors of an amendment that we will consider in a few minutes that will cut the carrier program this year by $49.1 million.

I also would emphasize to my colleagues who think we are not doing enough that the committee in the bill that is on the floor today has added $837,330,000 to the shipbuilding program that was recommended by the administration to be $21,000,871,437. And we have added two additional warships not requested by the administration.

So to imply somehow that we are weak-kneed and not spending adequately on building ships in this country is simply not true. I certainly support the objectives of my colleagues, and that is to look at an expanding Navy. But we also have to consider where we are from a budgetary standpoint today and not necessarily vote later to cut the carrier program in the same year by $49.1 million.

Having said that, Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.

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Mr. VISCLOSKY. Mr. Chair, I move to strike the last word.

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Mr. VISCLOSKY. Mr. Chair, I yield to the gentleman from Connecticut (Mr. Courtney).

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Mr. VISCLOSKY. Mr. Chairman, I yield to the gentleman from Rhode Island (Mr. Langevin).

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Mr. VISCLOSKY. Mr. Chair, may I ask the Chair how much time is remaining.

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Mr. VISCLOSKY. Mr. Chair, I yield to the gentleman from Connecticut (Mr. Courtney).

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Mr. VISCLOSKY. Mr. Chair, I yield back the balance of my time.

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Mr. VISCLOSKY. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the last word.

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Mr. VISCLOSKY. Mr. Chair, I would emphasize that I am strongly opposed to this amendment and join with the chairwoman.

Mr. Chair, I yield to the gentlewoman from Maine (Ms. Pingree).

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Mr. VISCLOSKY. Mr. Chair, I yield to the gentleman from California (Mr. Calvert).

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Mr. VISCLOSKY. Mr. Chair, I yield to the gentleman from Florida (Mr. Diaz-Balart).

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Mr. VISCLOSKY. Mr. Chair, I appreciate the gentleman's remarks.

Mr. Chair, I would again emphasize, first of all, that the committee recognizes the needs of the United States Navy, and in the underlying legislation we have increased--increased--the administration's request.

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Mr. VISCLOSKY. Mr. Chair, I move to strike the last word.

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Mr. VISCLOSKY. Mr. Chair, we have increased the underlying budget request by $837 million, and we have added two ships.

The best description for the amendment before us is shortsighted cannibalism. It eats other important Navy and Air Force programs in 2019 to feed the Virginia-class submarine. In doing so, it creates a myriad of problems in the out years.

The chairwoman mentioned a number of the programs that were cut in this proposal. I mentioned one in a previous amendment. I would emphasize that some of the gross numbers that have been mentioned include a cut of $10.5 million from weapons procurement from the United States Navy. It does, I emphasize, cut from carriers $49.1 million. It takes $20 million from fleet oilers. It takes $26.1 million from our research and development from the Navy and $262.9 million from the Air Force.

This is not new money. This is not free money. We are taking money from programs that need it in 2019.

Mr. Chair, I would also point out that Mr. Courtney mentioned two letters that were referenced by the chairwoman. I would also reference two other letters. The suggestion was made that we hear from the administration all of the time.

Well, Chairman McCain, in the Senate, on May 30, 2017, heard from Admiral Richardson relative to the Navy's unfunded priority list for fiscal year 2018. Admiral Richardson, who is Chief of Naval Operations, mentioned 38 priority items for the United States Navy. It did not include this item. It included a request for an additional $4,796,000,000. It didn't include this item.

Mr. Chairman, I have a letter that was sent to Chairman Frelinghuysen on February 22 of this year from Admiral Richardson for the Navy's unfunded priority list for this year, 2019. It includes 25 items. I have been scanning this with my bifocals, looking for this item of importance to the United States Navy, and I have not been able to find it in their request for an additional $1,502,270,000.

The sponsors' claim that this gives the Navy the option to construct two additional Virginia-class submarines during the next 5-year block contract, cutting $1 billion for useful programs this year, to give the Navy an option to do something in 4 years, does not make a bit of sense to me.

The sponsors say that this amendment sets the Navy up well for a multiyear procurement agreement, and I might not be able to argue that, in particular. However, in their quest to set that up, they are, in fact, damaging the ability of the United States Navy to set up a multiyear procurement program for the DDG-51 program.

Mr. Chairman, for all of these reasons, I am strongly opposed to this amendment, and I yield back the balance of my time.

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Mr. VISCLOSKY. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the last word.

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Mr. VISCLOSKY. Mr. Chairman, I simply want to follow the chairman's remarks, and associate myself with his remarks relative to the staffer who has been lost.

The chairwoman was kind enough in the general debate to mention the staff and the Members who have been so instrumental in this work product, and I would be remiss if I did not conclude by again thanking the full committee chairman, as well as Mrs. Lowey.

I can't thank Chairwoman Granger enough. This has just been a pleasant and productive experience, and I appreciate her leadership very much. I appreciate the work of all of the members of the subcommittee, as well as all of our staff. That includes our clerks, Jennifer Miller and Rebecca Leggieri, as well as Walter Hearne, Brooke Boyer, B.G. Wright, Allison Deters, Collin Lee, Matthew Bower, Jackie Ripke, Hayden Milberg, Bill Adkins, Sherry Young, Barry Walker, Jennifer Chartrand, Chris Bigelow, Johnnie Kaberle, Jonathan Fay, Joe DeVooght, and Christie Cunningham. I can't thank them enough.

Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.

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