Langevin Statement on FY18 National Security Funding Bill

Jul 27, 2017 Issues: Armed Services, Energy & Environment, Vote

Congressman Jim Langevin (D-RI), a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee, issued the following statement after voting against the Fiscal Year 2018 national security ‘minibus’ funding bill:

“As a Member of Congress, I bear no greater responsibility than to provide for the common defense. That is why I am deeply disappointed that Republicans decided to use this bill to advance a purely partisan agenda. The President’s single-minded insistence on spending taxpayer dollars to build an unnecessary and ineffective border wall – which he repeatedly claimed would be paid for by Mexico -- has poisoned the appropriations process.  This was only compounded by the Speaker’s underhanded decision to insert the wall funding without so much as a minute of debate or a vote on the House Floor. Republicans failed to pass a fiscal year 2017 funding bill until it was seven months overdue, and even then it passed only after they joined with Democrats in a bipartisan fashion. Sadly, they seem intent on repeating the same mistake of taking one-party approach to governing.

“Republican Leadership’s intransigence is particularly unfortunate because the bill does contain important provisions supporting our national security. The bill continues to ramp up production of Virginia-class attack submarines needed to preserve our naval dominance and constructed in part at the General Dynamics Electric Boat facilities in Rhode Island. It makes vital investments in our cybersecurity forces, and it reflects amendments I made to reinvigorate the Department of Defense’s Cyber Scholarship Program and to continue research and development of next generation directed energy and railgun technologies.

“Yet, in a sign of the fealty the Republicans have pledged to the President, the bill also includes a more than $28 billion slush fund that abdicates Congress’s responsibility to direct funding. It also fails to address the looming threat of sequestration, across-the-board budget cuts that would cripple our military readiness and are set to kick in next year. The non-defense portions of the legislation are also problematic, with drastic cuts to key programs that support advanced renewable energy research and policy riders that would significantly harm our water supplies and prevent implementation of a national ocean policy.

“This bill does not have a future in the Senate. I hope my House colleagues will move quickly to recognize this fact and put forth a serious, bipartisan bill to fund our military before the fiscal year ends in September.”