Langevin Statement on House Passage of Fiscal Year 2018 National Defense Authorization Act

Jul 14, 2017 Issues: Armed Services, Cybersecurity, Energy & Environment, Vote

Congressman Jim Langevin (D-RI), Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities, released the following statement on the Fiscal Year 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which passed the House by a vote of 344 to 81:

“Today, the House reaffirmed its bipartisan commitment to our men and women in uniform. I was proud to support this year’s NDAA, which provides critical resources for our military services and funds ongoing operations to support the fight against ISIL. Congress has no greater duty than to provide for our common defense, and this bill ensures that our military will remain the world’s preeminent fighting force.

“This year’s NDAA significantly increases spending to begin to address the damage caused by years of unwise budget caps. It increases the pace of submarine procurement, which will improve our maritime security and strengthen the defense industrial base in Rhode Island. It also provides for a 2.4 percent pay increase for our soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen, who deserve just compensation for the sacrifices they and their families make each and every day.

“I am particularly pleased that the House voted to preserve my language addressing climate change as a national security issue. For years, I have listened to leaders in our military and intelligence communities describe the growing threat a warming Earth poses to military assets and strategic battle plans. This bill takes an important step in acknowledging those concerns and providing support to assess the effects of climate damage and calculate the costs to mitigate them.

“As Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities, I must look to future conflicts we may face, which is why understanding the destabilizing effects of climate change is so vital. That is also why I am proud that we continue to increase our cyber capabilities in the bill, fully funding the ongoing development of U.S. Cyber Command. Cybersecurity is the national security challenge of the 21st Century, and we must prepare our services to maintain superiority in this new domain. Our Subcommittee also worked hard to include funding for advanced research and development, while investing in novel technologies, like directed energy, that provide our battlefield commanders with additional options on the ground.

“This year’s NDAA is not perfect, and I am concerned about a million dollar giveaway to the private Civilian Marksmanship Program that could result in tens of thousands of additional handguns on our streets. But the biggest problem with this bill is that it has been passed without a corresponding budget. Republicans in Congress have failed in their duty to produce a federal budget, and it is completely unclear whether there will be appropriations to match the authorized funding levels set in this bill. The spending caps included in the Budget Control Act have materially damaged military readiness, but they have also devastated domestic programs, and increases in defense spending must be matched with increases to the non-defense side. I hope the Congress will act swiftly to lift sequestration once and for all.

“Nonetheless, this is a good bill and a testament to the leadership of Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry and Ranking Member Adam Smith. Bipartisan coalitions worked together to prevent abhorrent amendments targeting transgender servicemembers and the Muslim community from being included and to keep the focus on supporting our men and women in uniform. I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues in the House and Senate to craft a final bill that maintains that focus and strengthens our national security well into the future.”