U.S. Rep. Pete
Visclosky, D-1st, spoke to the House on Wednesday on the Fiscal Year 2018
Defense Appropriations Act.
Excerpts from his
“(T)he House bills
exceed the cap on Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 defense spending, established under
the Budget Control Act of 2011 (BCA), by $72.5 billion. If enacted as
written, and the BCA caps remain in place, the Department of Defense (DoD)
would face a sequester of roughly 13 percent. The Department has still not
recovered from the rash of problems caused by the last time it was forced to
deal with sequestration in 2013. In the second half of FY 2013 the
Department savaged its Operations and Maintenance accounts to continue
ongoing contingency operations and to protect Military Personnel accounts.
This resulted in the Navy idling an aircraft carrier at a pier in Norfolk,
the Army canceling training rotations, the Air Force reducing flight times
for its combat aircraft, and widespread civilian furloughs. We simply cannot
allow that to happen again in FY 2018.
“We have avoided
sequestration in the last four fiscal years by adjusting the BCA caps for
both defense and nondefense appropriations. Those modest adjustments, done
in a bipartisan and bicameral fashion, provided needed funding for our
military, but also for our country’s economic and physical infrastructure,
scientific research, public health system, and veterans care. If past is
prologue, after this bill passes the House, it will sit idle until
mid-September, when we begin the tortured process of short-term continuing
resolutions, shutdown brinksmanship, possibly an increase in the BCA caps,
and then, maybe an Omnibus.
frustration with the process, I have concerns with the significant increase
in funding that this bill would provide to DoD: $60 billion more than FY
2017 and $29 billion more than requested. I support providing additional
funding to the Department, as I believe we are asking too much of our brave