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McKeon releases statement on continued defense funding

Posted: March 6, 2013 11:53 a.m.
Updated: March 6, 2013 11:53 a.m.
Congressman Howard "Buck" McKeon. Congressman Howard "Buck" McKeon.
Congressman Howard "Buck" McKeon.

WASHINGTON— Today, Rep. Howard P. "Buck" McKeon (R-CA), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, addressed his colleagues on the subject of passing a Continuing Resolution to fund the federal government through fiscal year 2013.  The resolution includes a full year appropriation for the Department of Defense.  The Continuing Resolution passed by a vote of 267-151.  McKeon's remarks below are as prepared for delivery:

"Mr. Speaker, I’m here to show my support for passage of this legislation to prevent a government shutdown and continue government operations until the end of the fiscal year.  As Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, I am glad to see us voting to include a full-year Defense and Military Construction/Veterans Affairs Appropriations bill.  

"Enacting a full year military spending bill is the first step toward restoring funding for our military, which has been whipsawed by the dual combination of the sequester and the CR.  None of our current Service Chiefs of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines have operated under a real budget.  Coming together to pass to a full year appropriation is an important step that, if we take it together, will begin to restore the bi-partisan consensus behind our men and women in uniform.  And they are paying attention to the actions we take here today.

"Practically, it will allow the Service Chiefs to cancel programs Congress has already directed them to cancel in the National Defense Authorization Act, and allows them to restore some of the critical shortfalls in their operation and maintenance accounts and add back a certain amount of training and flying hours.  For example, the continuing resolution is forcing the National Guard to curtail flying hours by up to 85% and reducing the amount of ammunition our troops can fire during training.  This legislation does not solve sequestration, but it gives our commanders some much needed flexibility and gives us time to work on a House budget that restores funding for our military.

"Let me just give you two more quick examples of why we need to pass this package this week.  
Because a straight CR stovepipes funding in certain accounts, Admiral Greenert, Chief of Naval Operations, has said that if he had the flexibility to move money between accounts, the Navy 'would be able to keep a carrier strike group and an amphibious ready group in the Middle East and the Pacific through next fiscal year.'  The Army has also told our committee that a CR could also have implications for in-theater support to forces in Afghanistan. 

"So let’s take this step, give back some flexibility and push the Senate to return to regular order.  I thank my good friends, Chairman Rogers, Chairman Young and all our appropriators for their hard work on this."

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