WASHINGTON, DC - Today, Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-TX) will lead the House Armed Services Committee as it marks up H.R. 5515, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019. To watch the Markup tune in here. For bill text and the summary click here. The Chairman made the following remarks, as prepared for delivery, on today's markup:
"The Committee meets to consider and mark up H.R. 5515, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019.
In the hope that we will move through our work briskly, I will open with just three brief points:
First, I appreciate the work and the contributions to this bill made by each Member of this Committee. We come from different backgrounds, experiences, and political philosophies. But each Member adds to the whole, whether it is the good work of the subcommittees, or participation in our hearings and briefings (and I know we’ve been occupying a lot of your time the past few weeks), or the more than 1500 requests we have received to be included in this measure. I hope each of you takes pride in the results of our work together. I do.
Second, this bill takes the crucial next steps to rebuilding our military and reforming the Pentagon. Our nation owes the men and women who serve the best equipment, the best training, the best support it can provide. We have not given them our best in the past, and we are still seeing some of the consequences of that failure. The two year budget agreement begins to turn that around, but we in Congress have to follow through on the second year with defense authorization and appropriation bills enacted on time. At the same time, we simply must continue to see that the taxpayers get more value for each dollar spent at the Pentagon and that our military is agile enough to respond to the many complex security challenges facing us, even when it challenges old ways of doing things. This bill advances both goals.
Finally, I know that it is an election year and that outside of these doors our politics is polarized. But for 57 straight years with presidents of both parties and congressional majorities of both parties, a defense authorization bill has been signed into law. It is so important, maybe even more now than it has been in the past, for our troops and for the world to see that unity in support of our men and women in uniform and in support of strengthening American national security. We will debate a number of particulars, but however any one issue is decided, we need to 'keep the main thing as the main thing' and the main thing for us and this bill is the defense of the United States of America."