Congressman John Garamendi’s Statement on Passage of the Fiscal Year 2019 National Defense Authorization Act Conference Report
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman John Garamendi, a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee and a core conferee for the Fiscal Year 2019 National Defense Authorization Act issued this statement following his vote to pass conference report that reconciled differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill:
“The passage of this $716 billion piece of legislation is an important step in meeting the defense requirements for our country. This bill contains the largest pay raise for our men and women in uniform in over a decade—2.6 percent—and gives them the resources they need to keep America safe.
“Locally, the bill authorizes $35 million to update Travis Air Force Base’s air cargo handling facility, ensuring Travis will remain the Gateway to the Pacific. And at Beale AFB, the U2 received an extra $17 million for critical sensor upgrades to support the base’s Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance mission.
“As the Ranking Member of the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee, I’m pleased that this bill underscores the rapidly changing security environment of the Arctic and allocates the necessary resources to increase the United States’ presence in the region. This bill authorizes five additional polar-class icebreakers and requires the Department of Defense to submit an updated Arctic strategy to improve joint operations and address the security challenges posed by Russia and China. While I am disappointed that the Coast Guard Reauthorization was not included in the final conference report, I will continue working with my colleagues in both the House and Senate to pass this important piece of legislation.
“This bill also addresses the serious threats posed by Russia. It authorizes $6.3 billion for the European Deterrence Initiative, the largest amount to date, to bolster U.S. defense posture in Europe and increase cooperation with regional allies. It also reconfirms the United States’ commitment to NATO and strengthens our cyber defense to counter Russia’s malign influence.
“While I am happy with many provisions in this bill, I remain deeply concerned about the direction our nuclear forces are headed. My earlier efforts to prohibit funding to develop dangerous new low-yield nuclear warheads were narrowly defeated. Developing these unnecessary weapons will increase the risk of nuclear war and further fuel a dangerous arms race. We’re already on track to spend $1.2 trillion over the next thirty years to modernize our nuclear arsenal, and that figure does not take into account these new weapons. Our job is about choices, and I have serious concerns that excessive nuclear weapons spending will shortchange our troops’ readiness.”