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tv   U.S. House of Representatives House Debate on Pocan D-WI Amendment to NDAA  CSPAN  July 21, 2020 6:32am-6:46am EDT

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thing? s all the speakers have said, we all want to ultimately leave afghanistan. we should do so in a way that is fair to our allies, fair to the eople of afghanistan, and it is now in order to consider amendment number 9 printed in house report 116-457. for what purpose does the gentleman from wisconsin seek recognition? mr. pocan: mr. chairman, i have an amendment at the desk. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will designate the amendment. the clerk: amendment number 9 printed in house report 116-457 offered by mr. pocan of wisconsin. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to house resolution 1053, the gentleman from wisconsin, mr. pocan, and a member opposed each will control five minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from wisconsin, mr. pocan. mr. pocan: thank you very much, mr. chair. if you ask just about anyone what is america's greatest threat, the answer isn't going to be another country or a political ideology.
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it's going to be a disease. covid-19. wand that answer people will mention the need for help for the jobless, the threat to mall sp -- small businesses, problems paying their rent or mortgage and the need for health care. but you what won't hear will be the need for a space force. or more nukes or an overseas slush fund for the pentagon. you certainly won't hear about the need for more cost overruns or fraud and abuse from defense contractors. but that's exactly what we have. we've increased our military spending almost 20% in the last four years, at a time of relative peace. but we have not kept up with our needs like health care, education and, of course, fighting the coronavirus. and yet we spend 90 times more on defense than we do the centers for disease control. $740 billion for the pentagon is a lot of money. and too much of it gets wasted on fraud, cost overruns, and outside contractors. we are literally flushing money down a drain and i mean literally.
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due to the design flaw in the new $13 billion ford class aircraft carrier, we are spending $400,000 on specialized acids every time we have to flush and unclog the toilets. i'm not making this up. almost every major defense contractor has had to pay fines or set amments for fraud or -- settlements for fraud and misconduct, all while getting trillions of dollars in defense contracts. we spent billions on an am fib louis vehicle that sinks due to its own ways and don't even mention the $10,000 seat toilet covers. if we cut the defense budget just 10% and not our troops, we free up $74 billion to fight global pandemics like covid-19 and much more. we need to treat the pentagon like every other department and that means with fiscal responsibility. we do that today by trimming 10%, $74 billion, to be used instead on behalf of the american people, not bloated defense contracts. i urge support. i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from wisconsin reserves the balance of his
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time. the gentleman from texas, for what purpose do you seek recognition? >> mr. speaker, i claim the time in opposition to the amendment. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. >> at this point i would yield one minute to the distinguished gentlelady from wyoming, ms. cheney. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman from wyoming is recognized for one minute. ms. cheney: thank you, mr. speaker. mr. speaker, this amendment is a deeply irresponsible stunt that would have great implications for our national security. it would return us to the days even worse than the days of sequester, a time in which secretary of defense jim mattis said no foe in the field has done more damage to the u.s. armed forces than the united states congress has. because of arbitrary, across-the-board cuts. we would -- with this amendment -- undermine the readiness of our troops on air, on land and at sea. we are asking our men and women to go into harm's way to defend all of us. and we must always do that ensuring that they have the absolute best equipment and resources necessary. this amendment is a stunt, mr. speaker, it will be dangerous. we have to ensure that the united states of america maintains a military force that
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is second to none. i urge my colleagues to defeat this irresponsible and reckless amendment and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman from wyoming yields back. the gentleman from texas reserves. the gentleman from wisconsin is recognized. mr. pocan: i'd like to yield one mind and 45 seconds to my distinguished colleague and co-lead on this amendment and strong voice for peace and justice, congresswoman barbara lee. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman from california is recognized for one minute. ms. lee: thank you very much. let me thank congressman pocan for yielding and thank you for your tremendous, bold and visionary leadership. as we stand here today, 142,000 people in america are dead from covid. and millions have suffered from the disease or the economic dislocation which it has caused. the federal response has been weak. it's been late and it's been confused. meanwhile, meanwhile, this house stands poised to pour 3/4 of $1 trillion into a defense establishment that is unauditable, unaccountable and does little to answer the basic threats to the safety and
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welfare of our people. the pentagon is the only federal department that has never passed an audit. despite this requirement being on the books for 30 years. it's not hard to find places to cut this budget. the pentagon could save almost $58 billion just by eliminating obsolete weapons. weapons like cold war-era bombers and missiles designed and built in the last century that are totally, mind you, totally unsuited for the challenges of this century. we could find another $18 billion simply by preventing the end of year spending sprees that lead to contract money being shoveled out the door in september. congressional research service has documented these spending spikes occurring each september as offices at the pentagon go on a last-minute spending spree to justify their next-year budget increases. we see the tremendous cost of this runaway spending not only
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in missing priorities like public health that are left underfunded, but in a way of thinking that militarizes every problem in our society. and turns peaceful protesters into targets for weapons of war. enough. it's time for us to stand up against this madness. the modest cuts that mr. pocan and i are proposing -- may i have 10 seconds? mr. pocan: i yield an additional 10 seconds. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman is recognized for 10 seconds. ms. lee: thank you very much. let me just close by saying that these are modest cuts. they won't compromise our national security and won't take dollars from our troops. but it will allow us to reinvest in health care, schools and infrastructure. this amendment will be a first step in rebalancing our priorities to build a safe, peaceful, prosperous world at home and abroad. i urge a yes vote. thank you again. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman's time has expired. the gentleman from wisconsin reserves. the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. thornberry: mr. speaker, i'm pleased to yield one 911 the distinguished gentleman from ohio, mr. turner. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from ohio is recognized.
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mr. turner: thank you, mr. speaker. let's just be honest. this bill does not do -- this amendment does not do anything for funding for covid or funding for health care. this is straight and simple defund d.o.d. and that's it. we have just come off of sequestration where we saw our planes falling out of the sky during training, where we saw our men and women in uniform working in buildings that we couldn't even rewear. my own base -- repair. at my own base they didn't even have enough money to turn the lights on in buildings where people were working in. and this is not just sequestration. this is like sequestration on steroids. this would be the biggest cut, much more than sequestration ever had, and it actually works out to about a 16% cut. not 10%. because of the things that are exempted. so the money doesn't go where the author says it's going to go to. it does hurt our national security and it does hurt our men and women in uniform. it cuts military houses and education and military family
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programs. it cuts reserve and development. but most importantly, it cuts -- research and development. but most importantly it cuts training it. goes right to the heart of making it unsafe once again for our men and women in uniform just to keep our country safe. this isn't money down the drain. this is money every day that keeps us at peace. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from ohio yields back. the gentleman from texas reserves. the gentleman from wisconsin is recognized. mr. pocan: thank you, mr. chair. i yield one minute to the co-chair of the c.p.c. and my good friend, congresswoman jayapal. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman from washington is recognized for one minute. jay allen thank you, mr. chairman -- ms. jayapal: thank you, mr. chairman. i stands in strong support manufacture amendment by -- i stand in strong support of this amendment by mr. pocan and ms. lee. this is critical for to us cut 10% of our pentagon budget. enough is enough. this year's defense budget is 90 times bigger than the budget for the centers for disease control. and yet we are nearing four million covid cases and over 141,000 deaths and this president wants to add money for defense spending while cutting money for testing. that is just wrong.
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that $74 billion could mean child care for every family. it could mean housing vouchers for every eligible family and $23,000 raise for every public school teacher. so many things we could do with this money. what we cannot do is give it away to corrupt defense contractors. pass this amendment and reset our priorities. it's time. i yield. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman's time has expired. the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. thornberry: i yield one minute to the gentleman from virginia, mr. whitman. r. wittman: this creates a structural deficit in what we have been doing to regain that.
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if you exempt personnel accounts, this turns out to be a 16% reduction and lit me tell you what it will result it. housing benefits go out the ndow and won't be supporting their families. and what we are doing to help support them is going out the window. suicide prevention and family support out the window. so much for supporting our men and women. service members on base food support. so much for helping them through these challenging times and making sure their needs are met. remember, what we do in investing our military is to build the ability of our military to deter our adversaries. when there is an imbalance, what happens? we find ourselves in conflict.
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why would we want to send a a message to the world that we are going to weaken and not be able to defend ourselves and deter ours from perpetratingd the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. thornberry: has all the gentleman's time -- the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from w.i.c.'s time has expired. the gentleman from texas has two minutes. mr. thornberry: the underlying bill as chairman smith pointed out is consistent with the two-year budget agreement. many of the sponsors of this amendment voted for that two-year budget agreement, but this year they only want to cut in defense. as my colleagues have pointed out, some accounts are exempt and that meeps the real cut is not 10% but 16%. and that 16% cut would have
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severe effect on modernization, on the research we need to do to catch up in many cases with russia and china and especially on maintenance. this house has been a leader in restoring our readiness and maintaining our planes and ships and equipment. this takes us back the other way. in other words, this amendment may well cost lives. and as several of my colleagues have mentioned, while it exempt some accounts dealing with our people, other accounts are not exempt. so this amendment results in 260 million cuts in housing. $470 million dependent education programs, $184 million cut to economies sears and $900 million to cleanup and to the hanford site. but underneath it all, there is a fundamental flaw in this
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amendment. we can cut defense without consequences and we can hide our head under the covers and cut defense and assume the threats are going to go away, but they don't. those who don't share our values will step into the void. the world will grow more dangerous and americans and america national security will suffer as a result. that's the fact. history proves time and time again, weakness begets aggression. that's what this bill tries to avoid. i hope on a bipartisan 116-457. for what purpose does the gentlewoman from pennsylvania seek recognition? >> mr. speaker, i have an amendment at the desk. the clerk: amendment number 19 printed in house report 116-457 offered by ms. houlahan of pennsylvania. the speaker pro tempore: pourpt to house resolution 105


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