WASHINGTON - Congressman Rob Wittman (VA-01), Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces, made the following remarks, as prepared for delivery, during the Floor debate of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21NDAA):
“I thank the Ranking Member for yielding.
“In committee, we went through over 600 amendments and over 12 tortuous hours of debate to arrive at this point. We definitely had our share of differences along the way. But, in the end, we were able to come together to arrive at a good bipartisan bill.
“But this floor debate is quite different. The majority has elected to add several non-germane bills to the NDAA at Rules, nothing to do with Defense. And perhaps even more problematic, these bills are partisan and have been recommended that they be vetoed by the President if they were to pass alone. So the majority has decided to tack it onto a must pass piece of legislation. We should not use servicemembers as a tool to achieve a partisan agenda. I voted in opposition to the Rule… I hope that I can vote for final passage of the Mac Thornberry National Defense Authorization Act.
“I want to highlight three areas of note that accelerate our national security in the Seapower Subcommittee. In undersea warfare, we made the biggest move in the bill by authorizing a second Virginia-class submarine. It is imperative that we move to accelerate the entirety of undersea capabilities and say to potential aggressors, “Today, is not your day.” Dissuading aggressor nations is the cornerstone of peace upon which our national security and our collective economy rest.
“Another area that I take great pride in supporting is the continued investment in our surge sealift. The authorization of 4 additional sealift vessels and a new tanker security program are essential elements to getting the Army and Marine Corps to distant shores.
“Finally, we continue strong oversight of our existing resources in limiting funds for a deficient KC-46A tanker and a promising, but unproven, unmanned surface vessel fleet.
“Before I conclude, I want to specifically thank Chairman Courtney and his team who led a strong bipartisan mark. Chairman Courtney is a great Seapower Chairman and I look forward to continuing to work with him to deliver the Seapower and Projection Forces that our nation needs.
“My friends, this is a good bill that, in its current form, is worthy of support. I look forwarding to saying I was part of passing the William M. (Mac) Thornberry National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021.
“I yield back the balance of my time.”