Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2013

Floor Speech

Mr. DINGELL. Mr. Chair, I rise in support of H.R. 5856, the Department of Defense Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2013. We are still a nation at war.
Our troops continue to remain in harm's way fighting for our country in Afghanistan. Our consideration of this legislation must begin with an acknowledgement of this critical fact.

In that light, I am pleased that this legislation gives our troops the support they need while they are serving our Nation abroad. The bill provides $519.2 billion for the Department of Defense's base budget, and $88.5 billion in funding for the war. It also gives a 1.7 percent pay raise to our troops and provides $2.3 billion for family support and advocacy programs. I am also very pleased to see the Committee include $181 million in funding to keep the M-1 Abrams tank production line in operation, which will help ensure our military industrial base is strong and vibrant. The legislation also provides $1.6 billion for activities to counter Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), which continue to be a leading killer of our troops abroad. All of these programs are an accurate reflection of our priorities as a nation.

That being said, I am dismayed that House Republicans chose to write all of this year's appropriations bills under a lower limit than was established under the Budget Control Act (BCA). The BCA represents a bipartisan compromise on Federal spending and it should be respected. The Senate Committee on Appropriations is moving forward with the limit established under the BCA with the blessing of the Republican leadership. Such a disconnect between the two bodies on an issue of critical significance only adds to the uncertainty surrounding our economy and is not in our national interest.

I urge all of my colleagues to join me in supporting this vital legislation so our troops can know they have the support of the Congress.