Floor Statement of Congressman John M. McHugh

May 15, 2007
Press Release

Contact: Josh Holly; 202.226.3988

WASHINGTON, D.C. Congressman John M. McHugh (R-NY), ranking Republican on the Military Personnel Subcommittee, today released the following floor statement for the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008:

“Madam Speaker, I rise simply to say, as we’ve heard from previous speakers, and perhaps to state the obvious, this piece of legislation, HR 1585, is a strong bill. 

“More importantly, in my judgment, it’s a bill that was put together in a collaborative and bipartisan manner.  And I want to pay my respects, my words of appreciation to the full committee Chair, the gentleman from Missouri, Mr. Skelton, who came through this trial by fire with great efficiency, as well as the gentleman from California, Mr. Hunter, the former Chairman and now ranking member. 

“But most importantly, I want to thank the new Chairman of the Military Personnel Subcommittee, a gentleman who I had the honor and opportunity to serve with as the Ranking Member when I served as the Chair, Dr. Vic Snyder.  We worked together again on a bipartisan matter, and in that way, have produced a product that I think, overall, we can all support with not just a great deal of enthusiasm, but a great deal of pride.

“All of us feel very strongly on this Military Personnel Subcommittee that when the members come to the floor, it is good that they talk about the broad range of effects and the broad range of benefits in this bill.  But it makes us feel proud, Madam Speaker, when we note that those things that the members take the most pride in and cite most often are a product of the work of the Military Personnel Subcommittee and the reason for that is very, very simple. 

“The success of the United States Military is today, as it has always been, not in high weapons systems, as important as they are, not in sophisticated platforms, not in all those things that give our fighting men and women an edge, but the true edge is in the fighting men and women themselves.

“And this bill contains many benefits, many kinds of added advantages that they so richly deserve. 

“It contains increase in end strength, something we have taken up and need to continue as embodied in this bill. 

“The bill provides for a basic pay raise that will continue the eight year effort to increase the pay of our men and women in uniform.  At the same time we’re drawing down that pay gap between the civilian and military forces, drawing it down currently to 2012 when it will be as little as 1.5%. 

“And by resisting ‘so-called efficiency wedges’, and cost savings in the TRICARE program generated by raising the beneficiary fees, instead, we’re saving money for those hardworking men and women protecting our interests wherever they may be in deployments, here at home, and of course, for their families.

“And it also includes he Wounded Warrior Assistance program that I had the honor of working on along with Dr. Snyder, the Chairman, and the Ranking Member, to address those challenges we saw so very dishearteningly at places like Walter Reed and others.

“All of this combined is a good bill that works on a bipartisan basis, and I urge all of my colleagues to support it wholeheartedly.”