WASHINGTON - Today, Congressman Rob Wittman (VA-01) released this statement after voting in favor of the Bipartisan Budget Act:
“I believe it is our primary constitutional responsibility to provide for the common defense. Right now, we are in a readiness crisis and the damage of Congressional budget dysfunction has come at a major cost, a human cost. In the past year, we have had 80 military casualties during peace time training and operations. This is, in part, a direct result of the lack of resources available for training, maintenance, modernization, and other essential readiness programs. This legislation is the most important thing we can do to ensure that our Armed Forces will be funded at the correct levels, a crucial element of our national security. I represent many critical military bases in the First Congressional District: Marine Corps Base Quantico, NSWC Dahlgren, and Fort A.P. Hill. In Virginia, we are home to the largest Naval station in the world and boast a significant Army, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard presence. I refuse to leave them without the resources they need to be successful in their missions.
“Our military has been operating under harmful stop-gap spending bills (continuing resolutions) for over 1000 days of the last decade. However, there is finally a light at the end of the tunnel – providing a clear path forward for stable funding. This two-year budget agreement ensures our Armed Forces will have the resources they need to carry out their missions. This stops the harmful continuing resolutions that the Secretary of the Navy stated, 'have wasted 4 billion dollars over the past 9 years- the equivalent of putting this money in a trash can and burning it.' This legislation lifts the outdated budget caps, ends dangerous sequestration through 2019, and finally puts us back on a path to fixing our current readiness crisis. It also includes investments for our veterans, infrastructure, and combatting opioid abuse. We finally will be able to return to regular order and put an end to this budget-by-crisis mentality that I have been condemning since I first came to Congress in 2007.
“Every day our global threats are increasing. North Korea continues to grow more belligerent and dangerous in a quest to successfully launch a nuclear missile capable of reaching the United States and in creating instability in the Asia-Pacific region; Russia and China are increasingly aggressive towards other nations around the world; and Iran also seeks to obtain nuclear weapons and to destabilize other governments in their region. For months we have continued to ask more and more of our men and women in uniform, while refusing to provide the adequate resources they need to do their jobs. It is now imperative for us to provide these resources that will protect our men and women in uniform.
“Secretary of Defense James Mattis, a life-long servant to our nation, called me personally to emphasize how critical this legislation is to our country’s defenders. While I agree with Secretary Mattis, this is an imperfect deal and I’m concerned about increased domestic spending levels and raising the debt ceiling without addressing the fundamental problem of runaway, autopilot spending. I will continue to demand and support actions to reduce spending, especially autopilot spending, and to properly fund our military. We as a nation must do both. Our military needs this spending agreement that fully supports our Sailors, Marines, Soldiers, and Airman. While far from perfect, it does just that. Anything less is unacceptable. This is what we need to keep America safe.”
The Bipartisan Budget Act passed with bipartisan support in the House and by Unanimous Consent in the Senate.
“Congressman Wittman has been steadfast in his support of our men and women in uniform,”said House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry (TX-13). “With his vote today, he proves once again he is committed to rebuilding our Navy’s Fleet, fixing our current readiness crisis, and ending the harmful practice of stop-gap funding. Congressman Wittman stands for the women and men who put their lives on the line every single day to keep our country safe.”
The Bipartisan Budget Act is a two-year budget agreement that temporarily ends sequestration cuts, funds the military at FY2018 NDAA levels, provides funding to reduce maintenance backlog at Veterans Administration facilities, includes disaster aid, funds the fight against opioid abuse, supports community health centers, and invests in our nation’s infrastructure. Congressman Wittman remains committed to fiscal responsibility. The legislation includes offsets for $100 billion of the $130 billion cost through a variety of “pay-fors.” Last year, Rep. Wittman also supported the House-passed budget that included more than $200 billion in cuts to mandatory spending programs and he will continue to advocate for responsible spending in Washington.
Congressman Rob Wittman represents the 1st District of Virginia. He serves on the House Natural Resources Committee and the House Armed Services Committee, where he is the Chairman of the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee.