“Today, House Democrats and Republicans agreed on a revised National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016. This bill provides the Department of Defense with a stable and predictable budget with which to plan for the next two years. This bill reflects what Congress can do when it takes a bipartisan approach to the issues of the day. The robust discussion and participation from both Democrats and Republicans produced legislation that supports our troops, advances acquisition reform, and protects our national security.
While the bill is much better than where we started, it still contains a number of problematic provisions. The bill does not address the need to reform how Overseas Contingency Operation funds are used and does not close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay. The $5 billion cut from the President’s budget will create difficulties but was necessary under the terms of the Congressional Budget Agreement passed by the House last week.
Make no mistake: the issue of sequestration and budget caps has impacted our national security. Other departments charged with protecting the nation, such as the Departments of State, Homeland Security, Justice, Treasury, and others, deserve budgets, certainty, and the opportunity to plan. Until we directly address these issues, our security will be at risk and key national priorities will continue to suffer. The past five years have made it very difficult for the Pentagon—and many others—to plan in a manner that best advances our national security interests.
I support this bill. The National Defense Authorization Act has never been perfect, and it will never be perfect. We must empower those charged with protecting our nation’s security by giving them the means to plan. Moving forward, the House, Senate and President must continue to work together to eliminate sequestration altogether and implement a long-term spending plan that provides certainty to our economy, the Department of Defense, and the entire federal government.”