McKeon Statement on Troop Funding Bill
Washington, D.C.–U.S. House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Howard P. “Buck” McKeon (R-Calif.) today delivered the following floor statement in support of the long-delayed troop funding measure:
“Mr. Speaker, I rise today in strong support of the long-delayed troop funding supplemental. Failure to pass this supplemental before the August work period would result in severe consequences to our military departments.
“Last Thursday, Under Secretaries from the Army, Navy and Air Force testified at our committee that without this supplemental, their services are past or dangerously close to the point of having to furlough Department of Defense employees.
“According to Robert Work, Under Secretary of the Navy, ‘failure to pass the supplemental before the recess would…hamstring the department’s operations for the remainder of the year and significantly disrupt operations within the Department.’
“Mr. Speaker, these are Departments at war. The President sent us his troop funding request in February. Our former commander in Afghanistan, General McChrystal, urged its passage by Memorial Day. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said if the supplemental was not passed by the Fourth of July recess, the Department would have to resort to doing ‘stupid things.’ And now we are 60 days past Memorial Day.
“Those of us here in Congress cannot lose sight of the broader perspective: our brave military men and women, and their civilian counterparts, are in the midst of a tough fight that is critical to U.S. national security. Cutting off their funding in the middle of that fight is tantamount to abandonment. I’m confident General Petraeus and our troops will succeed in Afghanistan if given the time, space, and resources they need to complete their mission.
“In December and again when he tapped General Petraeus, the President reminded us why we are in Afghanistan. It was the epicenter of where al Qaeda planned and launched the 9/11 attacks against innocent Americans.
“The timeline for success in Afghanistan cannot be dictated by arbitrary political clocks here in Washington; it must be driven by the operational clock in Kabul, Kandahar, and the Afghan countryside. We all hope and pray that this goal can be accomplished by July 2011, but conditions on the ground must dictate the pace of any withdrawal.
“The Democrat leadership in the House has tried to advance their domestic political agenda on the backs of our forces, while at the same time permitting one anti-war measure after another to be debated on the House floor. This is cynical and wrong. A vote on a clean troop funding bill is long overdue. We should have completed this work months ago—not in the last minutes before we adjourn for the August work period. We must send this troop funding to the President without further delay.
“I encourage all members to send a clear message to our military men and women by supporting this critical troop funding bill—this Congress believes in you, we support you, and we honor your dedication.”
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