tv Nancy Grace HLN October 9, 2009 3:00am-4:00am EDT
we have seen recently -- the shock videotape -- and -- obviously, it is a result of -- of -- of individuals beating someone to death. it didn't involve that -- my sense is that's -- that was what was addressed directly yesterday at the sates and into that school but i think, obviously a national conversation is just that. . . en as
a whole. mr. price: i thank the speaker. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to house resolution 808, the conference report is considered as read. the gentleman from missouri, mr. skelton, and the gentleman from california, mr. mckeon, each will control 30 minutes. the chair now recognizes the gentleman from missouri, mr. skelton. mr. skelton: mr. speaker, i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. skelton: i also ask unanimous consent that that all members may have five legislative days to revise and extend their remarks on the conference report currently under consideration. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. the gentleman is recognized. mr. skelton: mr. speaker, i'm pleesed to bring before the house the conference report -- pleased to bring before the house the conference report on 2647, the national defense authorization act for fiscal year 2010.
i especially want to thank my ranking member, my good friend, buck mckeon, the gentleman from california, our partners in the senate, senator carl levin and senator john mccain, and all the conferees from the armed services and 13 other committees who have made this conference report a reality. mr. mckeon, brand new as member -- as ranking member of our committee hit the ground running and has done yeoman's work, and i particularly wish to single him out and express my appreciation for the work he has done to help bring this to the floor. mr. speaker, this bill has a base of $550 billion for the united states military. this has $130 billion for the
wars in afghanistan and in iraq which total $680 billion. mr. speaker, we are at war. this is a deadly serious moment in this body. this bill is critical for national security and i'm pleased to say this bill gets it right. the conference report provides several major victories for our troops, their families, and the bill strikes the right balance between our focus on the immediate fights in afghanistan, iraq, and long-term needs of our military. the vast majority of this bill has bipartisan support. the bill provides almost $20 billion combined for army and marine corps reset and equipment
shortfalls in the guard and reserve. $550 million for army barracks and guard and reserve infrastructure. to boost readiness and reduce the strain on our force, the bill increases the size of the military all across four services and authorize an additional 30,000 army troops in fiscal years 2011 and 2012. this bill reflects our effort to recognize 2009 as the year that the military family have a 3.4% pay raise for all service members of the the bill also extends the authority of the defense department to offer bonuses and incentive pay and spans tricare health coverage, it prohibits fee increases on tricare in-patient care for year. it provides for $2.2 billion for family housing programs. it improves the benefits available to wounded warriors. to ensure our strategy in
afghanistan and neighboring pakistan is an effective, this bill requires the president to assess u.s. efforts and report on the progress. the bill authorizes funds to train and equip the afghan national security forces and authorize the pakistan counter insurgency fund. the bill improves the accountability and oversight of u.s. assistance. the bill also requires the secretary of defense to submit a report on the responsible redeployment of u.s. forces out of iraq. on acquisition reform the conference report supports the plan to increase the size and acquisition work force and reduce reliance on contractors for acquisition functions. it eliminates waste, fraud, and abuse through better contract oversight. the bill also repeals the national security personnel system, returning employees to the general schedule over two
years while providing additional flexibilities for hiring and personnel management. the conference agreement prohibits the release of guantanamo bay detainees into the united states, its territories, and possessions, and restricts detainee transfers until after the president has submitted a plan to congress. the conference report revises the military commission act to make them fair and effective and ensure that convictions stick. let me briefly address two difficult aspects of the conference report. first, i'm disappointed, so very disappointed we were not able to retain the houses' provision implementing the president's proposal on concurrent receipt for disabled military retirees. the armed services committee fought hard with the assistance of our leadership and many other committees to pay for that proposal. the senate's budget rules, however, would not support a
solution and i urge the president to work with us in a way to pay for this which will meet the budgetary rules of both the house and the senate. finally, regarding the hate crimes prevention act, i have said several times and i would have preferred it to have been enacted as a stand alone bill -- stand-alone bill, not on this defense bill. but it's important to note that the conferees included important sentencing guidelines for crimes against military service members and added protections for the first amendment rights of preachers and ministers to that bill. i might add, mr. speaker, that the senate passed its version of the bill with the hate crimes prevention by a vote of 87-7 which is a strong bipartisan
important national security activities undertaken by the departments of defense and energy. we all take our legislative responsibilities very seriously. this is especially true during a time of war and it's always true of my good friend and colleague, armed services chairman, ike seton, the gentleman from missouri. i commend chairman skelton for shepherding this bill through the conference process. ike, you have done a remarkable job. most of you in the chamber know, this conference report contains hate crimes legislation. this is an anathema to me. i'm opposed to hate crimes legislation and i'm especially opposed to the procedure of mutt putting it on a defense bill, especially in time of war, using our troops to get this legislation passed. it's not germane to the work of the committee and needlessly
introduces a partisan matter in an otherwise bipartisan bill. i have consistently opposed the passage of hate crimes legislation personally. and i continue to oppose it today. unfortunately congressional democrats made the political decision to attach the hate crimes legislation to this bill. i oppose, as i said, using the men and women of the military as a leverage to pass this partisan legislation. what should have been included in the bill is concurrent receipts. the house bill included a one-year expansion of concurrent receipt of military disability retired pay and veterans disability compensation for medically retired veterans. the house provision should have prevailed over the senate procedure hurdles. we owe this to our veterans. though flawed, this bill has my support. this conference report authorizes over $5 50 billion
in budget authority for the department of defense and the national security programs of the department of energy. additionally, the legislation authorizes over $129 billion in supplemental funding to support operations in iraq, afghanistan, and elsewhere in the global war on terror. this bill rightfully acknowledges that the united states has a vital national security interest in ensuring that afghanistan does not once again become a safe haven for terrorists and supports a comprehensive counterinsurgency strategy that is adequately resourced and funded by congress. the conference report supports our strategy in afghanistan in a number of ways. the bill authorizes $1.3 billion for the commanders to -- of the emergency response program which is uniquely authorized critical to implementing general
mcchrystal's counterinsurgency oppositions -- operations. additionally it authorizes $7.4 million for the afghan national security sources fund. these funds are the key to increasing the size and professionalism of the afghan national security forces. finally this bill re-authorizes expired d.o.d. contingency construction authority to rapidly authorize and build facilities needed to support the war in afghanistan. with respect to iraq, the report ensures that the congress will support the president's plan to redeploy combat forces while providing our commanders on the ground the flexibility to hold hard fought security gains and to ensure the safety of our forces. mr. speaker, as members of congress, we owe our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines the very best available equipment, training, and support in order for -- to provide them with the best possible tools to undertake their missions. the provisions in this bill go a
considerable way in demonstrating this support and particular to the house position prevailed in a couple of critical areas. . this bill provides $430 million in rdtne for the development of the f-136 engine and provides $130 million for engine procurement. it provides a multiyear procurement for f-18's. as a nation we owe more than our gratitude to the brave men and women in uniform and their families, past and present, for the sacrifices they make to protect our freedom. i'm pleased this legislation includes a 3.4% pay raise, a half percentage point above the president's request. we also increase active duty
spending over 2009 levels. this is essential for easing the burden on our forces. i'm pleased this measure prohibits any increase to tricare prime and tricare health care fees. finally the bill increases in $500 to $1,100 the amount of supplemental subsistence allowance to low-income members with dependents so members need not rely on food stamps. in closing, i want to say to my fellow republicans, inunderstand your opposition to the inclusion of hate crimes in the defense authorization bill. i committed to each of you that this vote should be a vote of conscience, and i understand you're on the horns of dilemma. i understand your opposition to
hate crimes and i understand this terrible position you've been put in. but i know if you vote against this bill because of the hate crimes legislation, it does not diminish in any way your support of the troops and the men and women in our armed forces. when i became ranking member of the armed services committee, i made a commitment to each of you and our men and women in uniform and their families, that i would do everything my power to provide our soldiers, sailor, airmen, and marines with the support they desperately need and deserve as member of the ranking armed services committee. as long as america's sons and daughters are fighting for our country, i have the obligation to support them first above everything else. mr. speaker, i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves. the gentleman from missouri.
mr. skelton: mr. speaker, i commend the gentleman, mr. mckeon, for his straightforward commitment to the young men and women in american uniform. at this time, i yield three minutes to my colleague, my friend, the chairman of the subcommittee on readiness, the gentleman from texas, mr. ortiz. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. ortiz: thank you, mr. chairman. i rise in support of the conference report for h.r. 2647, the national defense authorization act for fiscal year 2010. this is, my friends a very, very good bill. we cannot ignore the fact that we are fighting two wars. we are fighting a war in afghanistan and a war in iraq. the conference report before us today reflects our efforts to strengthen the readiness posture of our armed forces. it authorizes a toal of $244.5
billion for operation and maintenance, including $4.7 billion for army trainingering $13 billion for army and marine corps equipment reset and $2555.3 million for other. has $170 million for maintenance. it provides money to replace run down army barracks, $200 million for national guard and reserve construction projects. it adds $100 million to address the environmental issues of bases closed prior to 2005. the conference report expands the homeowners assistance program and provides $300 million to help ensure that service members forced to move during the real estate downturn are not severely affected
financially. the conference report supports energy security by authorizing $12.3 million for energy conservation projects on military installations and programs that enable the defense department to reduce energy use. at the same time, it provides the department's flex to believe the help in hiring effective personnel and management. the conference report allows, first, employees to receive credit for unused sick leave. it provides locality pay for workers in hawaii, alaska, and the united states territories. my friends, this is a good conference report that reflects a bipartisan desire to improve readiness and balance the many priorities of our military around the world and -- and
domestically. i urge you to support this bill, it is a good bill and keeps our -- gives our troops what they deserve and need. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from california. mr. mckeon: i'm happy to yield to the gentleman from maryland, ranking member on the air-land subcommittee, mr. bartlett, such time as he may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. bartlett: i want to thank chairman abercrombie and ike skeleton and buck mckeon for their efforts to draft this vital bill. i also thank the staff members who serve us so well. overall, this is an excellent conference report. that's why i'm appalled that my colleagues would violate house rules and pervert this annual national military strategy bill by including the totally unrelated partisan senate amendment. with deep regret, i resolutely
urge my colleagues to vote no on this conference report. i have dedicated almost 40 years to protecting the lives of the men and women who serve in our military. for 20 year, i invented and worked on defense projects to provide them life-saving equipment, including 19 military patents. i've been honored to serve for 17 years on the armed service committees work colleagues who have worked tirelessly to achieve the goals of providing equipment so soldier, sailor, marines and those who support them will complete their mission and return home safe. this bill provides for an increase for continued f-136 engine development and for f-136 engine procurement, an additional $600 million to
rere-deuce equipment shortfalls in the national guard and reserve. inclusion of my proposed requirements for d.o.d. to have specific line items for body armor. this will improve accountability, increase transparency, as well as facilitate the advancement of lighter weight technologies. $6.7 billion for mine-resistant vehicles. $1237b9 billion above the president's request. $2.54 billion for future combat systems communications equipment and spin out communications sets. i would like to thank the chairman for his leadership and relentless efforts to secure funding. my unavoidable and regrettable no vote is simply due to the incluge of this extraneous amendment.
it sets a dangerous precedent by including a nongermane and extraneous measure in a funding bill. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from missouri. mr. skelton: i yield three and a half minutes to the gentlelady from california, mrs. davis. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman is recognized for three and a half minutes. mrs. davis: thank you. mr. speaker, i rise in support of h.r. 2647, the national defense authorization act of fiscal year 2010. as the chairwoman of the military personnel subcommittee, i'm proud to speak for this bill which continues our commitment to our men and women in uniform and their dedicated families. i want to recognize the ranking member on the subcommittee, representative joe wilson, for his support and assistance. mr. speaker, i would also like to recognize the chairman of the house armed services committee, ike skeleton and ranking member buck mckeon for
their leadership. these gentlemen exercise extraordinary strength to complete another solid authorization bill. i urge my colleagues in the house to vote for this conf@@@@@@na)@ @ @ r', the bill provides for a $3347b9% pay raise. it makes mandatory face-to-face mental screening for all returning service members. it helps schools with large enrollments of military
children, it provides $30 million for imact aid -- impact aid. it also establishes an office of community forth for military families with special needs. the report expands tricare eligibility when it comes to dental programs and provides tricare for reservists called to duty 180 days before they reactivate. it also allows reserve retirees and their families to buy into tricare standard coverage and it prohibits an increase in tricare fees for inpatient care for one year. to reduce the strain on our forces, the conference report authorizes an additional end strength increase for the army in 2010 and makes further increases possible. it also sets up program to
account for missing persons from conflicts, beginning with world war ii. mr. speaker, we have a moral and constitutional responsibility to ensure that those who volunteer to defend our nation have the training and equipment they need to successfully execute their mission. the bill before us recognizes the sacrifices that those in uniform, survivors, retirees, and their families are making on behalf of our nation. mr. speaker, before i yield back, i would also like to express my support for the inclusion of language to strengthen our federal hate crime laws in this conference report. hate crimes perpetuate and reinforce historic discrimination and persecution against particular groups. they are committed not simply to harm one particular victim,
but to send a message of threat and intimidation to others. left unchecked, crimes of this kind threaten to unravel the very fabric of american society our service -- service members fight to protect. thank you, mr. speaker. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from california. mr. mckeon: i'm happy pi to yield to the gentleman from missouri, mr. akin, raking member on the sea power subcommittee for two minutes. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for two minutes. mr. akin: thank you, mr. chairman. the bill before us today is the product of hundreds and hundreds of hours of hearings, all kinds of work by members and staff, and by and large it's a good product tavepls political product. it has tradeoffs here and there, try to balance one requirement against the other. it is once again a reflection of a committee that i have been honored to be able to serve on for nine year a committee that's been largely bipartisan a committee that has focused on
solving problems, defending our nation, and supporting our troops. in all of those regards, this bill is fine, except for, there is an elephant in the room. the elephant in the room was an invention of the senate they decided to put on to a bill that is focused on supporting our troops their own liberal social agenda of hate crimes legislation. they claim they have the votes to pass that, so why don't they pass it somewhere else? instead they put it on the backs of our servicemen and women and expect to use a black mail approach to have -- a blackmail approach to have us, to dare us, to vote against adding something totally extraneous to defense of this nation on the backs of our service people. and a number of us are saying, as much as we support our troops, as much as we support the hard work of this committee, we believe that this is a poison pill.
poison -- poisonous enough, in fact, that we refuse to be blackmailed into voting for a piece of social agenda that has no place in this bill. this is the kind of shenanigans that makes the american public irate. this is the kind of thing, like passing 300 pages of amendments at 3:00 in the morning, that makes the public nauseous. i for one, as much as i support our troops, indeed, i even have a son going to afghanistan in three weeks, as much as i support him and the rest of our troops, i will not allow us to be blackmailed into voting for something totally extraneous on this bill. that's the reason why i will not support the bill. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from missouri. . mr. skelton: i wish to remind my
fellow missourian that the united states senate voted for the defense bill with the inclusion of the section that he objects to by 87 votes to 7. a strong bipartisan vote. i yield three minutes to my friend the chairman of the subcommittee on strategic forces, mr. langevin. mr. langevin: i ask unanimous consent to revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman is recognized. mr. langevin: i thank the gentleman for yielding. mr. speaker, i rise in strong support of the conference agreement on h.r. 2647, the 2010 national defense authorization
act. i'd like to personally thank chairman skelton for his outstanding leadership in bringing this bill to the floor and always looking out for roops as he always has in the course of his career. i also want to recognize the leadership of the ranking member mckeon. i'm proud of the provisions this legislation includes to sustain and modernize our strategic weapons systems. in the area of nuclear weapons, the conference agreement increases funding to stockpile stewardship program by 47.7 million and establishes important new guidelines for nuclear weapons stewardship, including a new stockpile management program. the program clarifies the changes to the u.s. nuclear weapons stockpile must be limited to sustaining current capabilities and requires that any changes use weapons components that can be certified without nuclear testing. regarding ballistic missile defense, this congress has made this program a priority. the conference agreement fully funds the administration's request of $9.3 billion for
missile defense programs. it authorizes $1.8 billion for each ballistic missile defense adding $23 million for additional sm-3 missiles and authorizes $1.1 billion for high altitude area defense systems or thad. these amounts reflect an increase in the funding proven systems by $900 million over the f.y. 2009 levels. the bill also authorizes up to $309 million for the recently announcedure peaian missile defense plan if the secretary of defense certifies that the system is operational effect, and cost-effective in providing protection for europe own anne the ubs united states. further -- and the united states. and it improves ground base vehicle defense system and includes a provision requiring the department to establish a plan to maintain its operational effectiveness of the system over the course of its service life. within the strategic intelligence programs, the
conference agreement requires the department of energy to develop a plan to ensure that our national security laboratory tests sufficient funding and technical abilities to monitor, analyze, and evaluate firing nuclear weapons activities and requires the department of defense to assess gaps in u.s. intelligence for foreign ballistic missile programs and prepare a plan to ensure our intelligence centers have -- have sufficient -- have sufficiently addressed these shortfalls. lastly, in addition to our national security priorities, i am pleased that the federal hate crimes legislation is included in this bill to allow law enforcement to more aggressively pursue individuals who commit violent crimes that are vote vated by a person's religion, disability, or sexual orientation. finally, i urge my colleagues to support this important legislation. i again thank chairman skelton for his outstanding leaderpship on bringing this bill to the floor and shepherding it through the process, it clearly shows
that this congress is clearly behind our nation's military and our war fighters. thank you very much. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from california. mr. mckeon: thank you, mr. speaker. i'm happy to yield at this time to our gentleman from indiana, our conference chairman, mike pence, 1 1/2 minutes. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for 1 1/2 minutes. mr. pence: i ask unanimous consent to revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, so ordered. mr. pence: thank you. i thank the ranking member for yielding. and i thank the ranking member and the distinguished chairman of this committee for their work on the defense elements of this legislation. but i rise with a heavy heart to express my opposition to the national defense authorization act. because today's vote isn't just all about providing for the national defense. because of actions taken in the united states senate, unrelated,
divisive, liberal social policies have been added to this legislation in the form of hate crimes. and for that reason i must oppose it. the majority in this congress and in the senate has included hate crimes provisions in this legislation that have nothing to do with our national defense. and will threaten the very freedoms of speech and freedom of religion that draws the american soldier into the uniform in the first place. thomas jefferson said it best, quote, legislative powers of government should reach actions only and not opinions. the reality is that by expanding the federal definition of hate crimes as this legislation does, we will generate a chilling effect on religious leaders in this country. pastors, preachers, rabbis, and imam's will now hesitate to speak about the sexual traditions and teachings of their faith for fear of being found culpable under the aiding,
abetting, or inducing provisions of current law. and that must not be. it is just simply wrong to use a bill that's designed to support our troops to erode the very freedoms for which they fight. i urge my colleagues to oppose this bill as a result. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from missouri. mr. skelton: mr. speaker, i yield one minute to my friend, the member of the committee on the armed service, the gentlelady from guam, ms. bordallo. the speaker pro tempore: one minute. the gentlewoman is recognized for one minute. ms. bordallo: thank you, mr. speaker. i rise today to express my views on the final conference report on the national defense authorization act for fiscal year 2010. i want to thank chairman skelton and ranking member mckeon for working so closely with me on a compromise to h.r. 44, the guam world war ii loyalty recognition act. i also want to thank aaron, paul , dave, aaron, vicki, julie, and
andrew. unfortunately i was disappointed that h.r. 44 was not included in the final defense authorization bill, but i'm confident that the commitments made by the house and the senate conferees to hold hearings and readdress war claims in next year's defense bill will be honored and that further debate on this important legislation will bring us closer to finally passing this bill. i again want to thank my colleagues in the house who have been supported, including h.r. 44, speaker pelosi, majority leader hoyer, congressman larson of our caucus, members across the aisle, and many others. finally, mr. speaker, the conference committee report -- the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady's time has expired. ms. bordallo: for the military buildup. i thank the committee for this. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the chair will note that the gentleman from california has 17 1/2 minutes remaining. and the gentleman from missouri has 12 1/2 minutes remaining. the gentleman from california. mr. mckeon: thank you, mr. speaker. i'm happy to yield at this time
to the gentleman from virginia, the republican whip, mr. cantor, two minutes. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for two minutes. mr. cantor: mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent to revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. cantor: thank you, mr. speaker. i thank the gentleman from california and also salute the gentleman from missouri. mr. speaker, today could have been and should have been marked by bipartisan support for our troops. but instead has become something very different. the sole purpose of department of defense authorization legislation is to authorize funds to ensure a strong national defense. but today it is being used as a vehicle to force hate crimes legislation through the house. it is with deep regret that i'm left with no choice but to oppose it. this legislation and this vote is a political ploy and symbolic of everything that is wrong with
washington. those who support the federal criminalization of hate crimes should demand that it be removed from this legislation and be considered solely upon its own merit, not that of our national defense. i believe that all americs @lb to force a social agenda upon the court system and american people. with that, mr. speaker, i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from missouri. mr. skelton: i yield three minutes to my friend, my
colleague, the chairman of the subcommittee on sea power and expeditionary force, the gentleman from mississippi, mr. taylor. the speaker pro tempore: how much time? mr. skelton: three minutes. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for three minutes. mr. taylor: let me begin by thanking chairman, ranking member for the phenomenal job they have done. let me begin by telling the gentleman from virginia i agree with much of what he said. i also remind the gentleman from virginia that like him i voted to send those young men and women to iraq and afghanistan. with that vote came my commitment to quip them -- equip them, pay them, take their of their families, to provide them with the very best equipment. the one thing that every american can agree on is we have the world's best army. we have the world's best navy. we have the world's best marine corps. we have the wormed's best air force. this bill keeps it that way.
i regret that the other body by a vote with 87-7 puts in language in there that should never be in this bill, but the bottom line is come november sometime between thanksgiving and christmas, i'm going to be visiting at least 7,000 mississippians to the best of my ability trying to see every one of them that i voted to send there. and when i look them in the eye, i want them to know that i voted in support of them over the reservations of one small part of this bill. the bill does a lot of good things for our navy. pays for seven new ships. the ddd class destroyer, best one in the world. two combat ships. two cargo ships. and virginia class submarine. includes language to see to it that our next generation of carrier with the all important electromagnetic alarm system
would have the proper oversight. it includes language to see to it that the combat ship system that up-to-date has been poorly handled will be done better in the future with a 10 ship buy followed by ship buy. the f-18 program. the worrell's best fighter except the f-22 quite frankly a lot more affordable fighter than the f-22. lastly, it includes $6 billion and most important represent wep in our inventory at the moment, and that is the next generation of mine resistant vehicles. look at the casualty list from afghanistan. almost every casualty is a result of an improvised explosive device on a vehicle that is not mine resistant. the magnificent vehicles that we have built that work so well in iraq, they have saved so many lives in iraq were unfortunately too big and too bulky for the terrain in afghanistan. that's why we have to come up with a second generation
vehicle. this bill funds 5,000 of those vehicles that when they were delivered from day one would start saving lives and bring our friends and our family members back home with their limbs. so, mr. speaker, again, like many of you i have very, very, very deep concerns in fact anger over some language that was included in this bill. but that is not enough to keep me from voting for funding. the troops that serve our nation so well give them the equipment they deserve. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from california. mr. mckeon: i'm happy to yield at this time to the gentleman from florida, ranking member on the subcommittee, mr. miller, 1 1/2 minutes. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for 1 magnificent 1/2 minutes -- for 1 1/2 minutes. mr. davis: it is with great disappointment and sadness today that i rise to inform my colleagues-that i, too, will be
voting against the defense authorization conference report. . the underlying bill does in fact carry a tremendous amount of good things that will help our troops and our armed forces, providing what they need as a war fighter to better face today's security challenges. we have extended to the secretary of defense the authority to offer rewards to those individuals who provide information and nonlethal support, we incree -- increase the authorization for commands, authority 1208. but this is a big thing to many of us. the hate crimes bill is not at all germane to this piece of
legislation. the house passed it as a stand-alone piece of legislation, our authorization bill, i believe, should not be used as a vehicle to forward this controversial and unconventional and what i think unconstitutional piece of legislation that attacks our first amendment rights. the fiscal year 2010 national defense bill started off as a bipartisan bill. unfortunately, it's ended up in an extremely partisan fashion. the outstanding work of this committee, i think, is being belittled. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from missouri. mr. skelton: i yield one minute to my friend, the gentleman from new jersey, mr. andrews. member of the armed services committee. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for one minute. mr. andrews: i ask unanimous consent to revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore:
without objection, so ordered. mr. andrews: there's not a word in this bill that silences a religious voice or a voice of conscience because of the hate crime legislation. but there is in this bill a very important choice that my friend mr. taylor talked about a minute ago. a few years ago we discovered to our horror that when vehicles drove over roadside bombs, the floors of the vehicles were not capable of sthoping explosion from killing the troops inside that problem has manifested itself again in afghanistan on rugged the rain this bill funds 5,000 vehicles that will protect the lives of the young americans who travel that rough terrain. the choice is not about house procedure or civil rights arguments. the choice is yes or no. for those 5,000 vehicles, for those troops who travel that rough terrain, yes or no. the right vote is yes. the way to honor our commitment is yes.
i urge both republicans and democrats to vote yes. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from south carolina. mr. wilson: i yield myself two minutes. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. wilson: this prohibits increases in tricare cost shares, approves the ability of service members to vote and have their votes counted. as a veteran myself and the father of four sons serving in the military, i know this is an important bill. however it falls short of what should be done on behalf of our military and military families. i am disappointed the report failed to adopt a house provision to a-- provision to allow for receipt of retire pay
regardless of disability rating percentage or rating. there are numerous reasons we didn't adopt this pay-for provision, including that the president did not approve it or the senate didn't allow for the offset. these reasons do not justify inaction on this issue. it sends the wrong message that this was kept out of the conference report. it is past time we stop talking about concurrent relief and indemocratnyity compensation, offset. the tragic widow's tax. it is time for action to do the right thing now, to remove these unfair burdens on widows and disabled military veterans. sadly, billions for cash for clunkers but lack of consideration for widows and disabled veterans. thank you, mr. speaker, i ask to revise my remarks and yield
back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman yields back. the gentleman from missouri. mr. skelton: i yield two minutes to my friend, my colleague, a member of the armed services committee, the gentleman from georgia, mr. marshall. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. marshall: thank you, mr. chairman, thank you, mr. speaker. i want to second what the gentleman from new jersey said a minute ago. i'm not going to get into the details of the armed services authorization part of this bill, except to simply say that we do an awful lot of very important good things for our soldiers and their families and for the defense of this country in this bill. it would take an awful lot, an awful lot for me to vote against the bill because something that's nongermane has been included in the bill. now i did vote to keep hate crimes out of the bill. that didn't work.
i can't tell you how often in this chamber i've had to vote on bills that included things i didn't want in the bill. it is rare that we have a bill, a large bill that doesn't include all kinds of things i would prefer to not be in the bill. but there is something that i think is very important to point out about the hate crimes legislation that is in the bill. it's language that was added by senator sam brownback on the senate side and it is language which addresses the principal concerns i hear from my constituents about hate crimes legislation. my constituents don't mind putting people in jail for being violent with other folks. they don't have a problem with that at all. they don't have a problem with increasing sentences. not one whit. the longer the better. you're a criminal uric do the time. as far as my folks are concerned, you can do more time.
the worry was that somehow the right of individuals, of pastors and others to criticize behavior, talk about sin, that somehow that right would be infringed, that free speech would be chilled. i have to thank senator brownback because in the bill we have language which takes care of that issue. on page -- pages 1366 and 1367 of the bill, and i'm going to read some of that language so folks who are watching and listening to this -- i may not have time to do it. mr. skelton: i yield the gentleman an additional minute. mr. marshall: nothing in this bill shall be construed to limit the rights under the first amendment of the constitution of the united states. nor should they be construed in
a manner that substantially burdens a person's religion, regardless of whether compelled by a system of religious belief, speech or association, unless the government indicates that it is in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest and is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling interest as long as the speech was not meant to incite physical violence my folks don't bant people planning and preparing for physical violence or inciting physical violence against other folks. they want people to be free to criticize, argue, speak, don kem -- condemn sin. i think senator brownback hit it exactly right. thank you, plb. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from south carolina. mr. wilson: i yield to the gentleman from ohio, mr. turner, the former mayor of
dayton, ohio. two minutes. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for two minutes. mr. turner: i would like to thank chairman skelton and ranking member mckeon for their leadership and steadfast concern for the men and women in uniform. the conference report retains a provision to establish the stockpile management program, strengthen the stockpile inventory and makes it clear that the treaty should not include limitations on missile defense or advanced conventional weapons and that the enhanced capability of the nuclear weapons stockpile are key to enabling further stockpile reductions. i am disappointed that the conference sustains the president's cut of $1.2 billion to our missile defense system. these cuts come despite