As the Republican and Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, I understand how important a robust national defense is to the long term success of our country. Our Constitution makes clear that the major duty of the federal government is to provide for common defense, and I intend to ensure that Congress plays its part in protecting the American people.
Our district is unique by representing all branches of the military service. I am extremely proud of our installations and the thousands of military retirees, veterans, military families, and reservists within our district. I am humbled by our brave constituents and their dedication to protecting America’s freedoms. This dedication does not come without sacrifice; I remember and honor our fallen heroes.
As your Congressman and Chairman, I am dedicated to providing the President and our military with the resources needed to win both the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and to protect our nation’s homeland from terrorism and other violent threats. Our nation’s warriors deserve the best funding, training and equipment. I am committed to ensure they do.
Whether it is ensuring our capabilities for strategic missile defense, which provides assurance to Allies and deterrence to adversaries, or making the necessary investments in defending against cyber attacks; we must be able to look towards the future and see likely security challenges that we will face and meet them head on.
National Defense Authorization Act of 2013
As the Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, it is my duty to author the annual NDAA, comprehensive legislation to authorize the budget authority of the Department of Defense and the national security programs of the Department of Energy.
I am committed to making our Committee action as transparent as possible. In 2011, we took an unprecedented step by releasing our Fiscal Year 2012 NDDA markup to the public.
Defense Cuts Our country is in a serious fiscal crisis and it's time that we balance our budget, however we cannot continue to do this on the backs of our troops. It is our duty, as Americans, to ensure that our men and women in uniform have the resources they need to complete their missions and return home safely. We must never sacrifice their protection.
In March, the President sent us his budget for 2013. This budget included $45 billion less for the Department of Defense than his request from last year. This continued slashing is on top of the already $487 billion in automatic cuts included in the Budget Control Act. It also threatens to increase healthcare fees (TRICARE) for our men and women in uniform, military families and veterans (The White House).
The defense of our country accounts for 20% of our federal budget, however 50% of our overall spending cuts are now being forced on the backs of our service men and women.
What the President is proposing is catastrophic. The President is seeking to hollow out the greatest world power, leaving our military with fewer and fewer resources when we face increasingly hostile threats from across the globe. At a time when we are seeing violence and hostility in North Korea, Iran, Syria, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and other major hot spots, the President is seeking to shrink our military to some of the smallest levels we have seen since World War II.
These devastating cuts don’t just threaten our military. President Obama and advocates of these continued defense cuts fail to grasp the danger that these cuts pose to not only the security of our nation, but our economy. Not only does this drastically impact our armed service members, but it threatens thousands of jobs right here in our district.
This really impacts us in California, because we have one of the largest defense and aerospace sectors in the country. It is right here in our district where companies are creating the tools needed for our troops to have a definitive advantage in our national security interests. If these mandated automatic spending cuts are to take place, it is estimated that here in California alone we are set to lose 126,000 private sector jobs, 20,000 active duty military jobs and over 15,000 civilian DOD jobs. We are set to see an $11 billion decrease in our state’s GDP and our small businesses would lose more than $400 million in revenue.
I will not accept this continuous hit on our armed forces and American jobs. That is why I have introduced H.R. 3662, The Down Payment to Protect National Security Act, which would prevent a further round of cuts, beyond the $487 billion already announced by the President, from hitting our military and our communities.
Drastic cuts will hurt many communities in our district, like at Plant 42, Edwards Air Force Base, and China Lake, which account for over $1.4 billion in defense contracts in the Antelope Valley. Service chiefs and secretaries have testified before my committee that if these cuts are to take place, all of those contracts could be cut across the board by 8-12%. These institutions alone employ 25,000 people in the Antelope Valley and have payrolls of almost $1.5 billion, not to mention the many other related businesses that employ thousands of people in our community. As they deal with the uncertainty, they can’t plan for the future and many are already freezing hiring or planning layoffs.
As Chairman, I will fight against the drastic threats to our national defense proposed by the President. I will fight against the dangerous hollowing out of America’s Armed Forces. I will fight to keep our jobs here in California’s 25th district.
I currently serve as the Chairman of the Congressional Unmanned Systems Caucus. Our district is a centerpiece of the United States Aerospace industry. I am proud of our district’s ability to put forth science and technology innovations that are on the cutting edge of technology.
The mission of the Unmanned Systems Caucus is to:
Educate members of Congress and the public on the strategic, tactical, and scientific value of unmanned systems
Actively support further development and acquisition of more systems
Effectively engage the civilian aviation community on unmanned system use and safety
Working with industry, stakeholders, military installations, and the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, I proposed legislation that would force the Federal Aviation Administration to safely integrate these systems into the National Airspace by 2015.
2310 Rayburn House Office BldgWashington, DC 20515(202) 225-1956 tel(202) 226-0683 fax26650 The Old Road Suite 203Santa Clarita, CA 91381(661) 254-2111 tel(661) 254-2380 fax1008 W. Ave M-14 Suite E-Palmdale, CA 93551(661) 274-9688 tel(661) 274-8744 fax