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Jim Mattis agrees, Congress needs a budget

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Washington, June 14, 2017 | comments

Secretary of Defense James Mattis testified yesterday before the House Armed Services Committee on the Department of Defense budget request. In his remarks, Secretary Mattis discussed the harmful effects of not passing a budget on time and the problems that creates for the DoD and members of our Armed Forces.

“In the past, by failing to pass a budget on time or eliminate the threat of sequestration, Congress sidelined itself from its active constitutional oversight role,” Mattis said. “It has blocked new programs, prevented service growth, stalled industry initiative, and placed troops at greater risk. Despite the tremendous efforts of this committee, Congress as a whole has met the present challenge with lassitude, not leadership."

I cannot agree more. That is why two of my top priorities as a member of the House Armed Services Committee are boosting defense spending and eliminating the sequester that has hurt military readiness. I am focused on keeping Congress on schedule, which means passing all 12 regular appropriations bills before the end of the fiscal year. Failure to do so would mean enacting another continuing resolution, which simply funds the government at the previous year's overall top line spending figure, denying federal agencies, particularly the Department of Defense, the certainty needed to operate effectively.

Congress must do the difficult work of governing and make the tough choices necessary to successfully complete the budget and appropriations process. In fact, I again introduced a bill that says if Congress doesn't pass a budget, Members of Congress should not collect a paycheck.

Additionally, I introduced legislation in January, H.Res 43, the Stay on Schedule (S.O.S.) resolution, to change congressional procedures to prohibit the House from taking an August recess unless it has passed all regular appropriations bills by July 31 and even sent a letter to Speaker Paul Ryan urging him to keep the House in-session until we finish our legislative “to do” list.

The American people expect us to do the basic work of governing and Members should be willing to forego their August recess to complete that work. We cannot allow Congress to leave town for a month when we need a budget, to approve spending bills, and to address the debt limit.

I will keep you updated on this process. In the meantime, if you have thoughts or concerns about the budget and appropriations process that you'd like to share, I encourage you to email me. Your thoughts and feedback help me better represent you in Congress.

It's an honor to serve you and Virginia's First District in the People's House.


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