Mr. Speaker, I want to begin by echoing the comments of my colleague from Texas (Mr. Thornberry) and also thanking him for his outstanding leadership on our subcommittee. It's been great to work in a bipartisan fashion with Mr. Thornberry; with Mr. Saxton, the former chairman; and the other members of the committee. And I will not repeat all that Mr. Thornberry just said because I agree with it completely. The priorities that he laid out of our subcommittee, focusing on supporting the Special Operations Command in their lead in the fight against al Qaeda and terrorism; focusing on science, technology, and all the issues that he raised are exactly what we are trying to confront. I have enjoyed working with him on those issues and look forward to continuing to do so because, as he mentioned, we have certainly made progress but there is a lot more work to do. Our Special Operations Command needs all the support we can give it in its effort to fight al Qaeda, to understand that enemy and then use its forces to the best of its ability to combat it. And I think understanding those issues is enormously important. It has been a huge priority of our subcommittee.

I also want to thank the chairman of the full committee, Mr. Skelton. It is a great honor to have worked with him during my 11 years in Congress and certainly a great honor to work with him as the Chair, and I think he has produced an outstanding bill, in particular the focus on the troops. I have traveled with the chairman before, and I know that this is always at the top of his priority list, how we are taking care of the troops and their families. This bill does that. It protects them, active duty, Guard and Reserve. It makes it a priority to make sure that we are meeting their needs, and I know that is primarily because of his leadership, and I thank him for that. I also thank the other subcommittees who were directly involved in that.

Lastly, I want to point out how important it is that this bill also recognizes the fight we are currently engaged in Iraq and Afghanistan. It goes to the issues that are most important to those troops. Funding the MRAPs, trying to come up with ways to combat IEDs, making sure they have the body armor and the up-armored Humvees they need to confront those threats. It has been a huge priority of this committee, and particularly Mr. Taylor and Mr. Abercrombie, to make sure that we fund our troops that are in the field right now with the priorities that they most need because they are the ones facing the most direct threat right now.

I have always been proud to be a member of this committee, and I'm very proud of the bill that we have created. I urge every Member in this body to support it. I think it's an excellent piece of legislation.