House Armed Services Committee Approves Fiscal Year 2008 Defense Authorization Bill

May 8, 2007
Press Release

Contact: Josh Holly; 202.226.3988 

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) and Republican members of the House Armed Services Committee today hailed the committee passage of H.R. 1585, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008, by a unanimous vote of 58-0.

H.R. 1585 authorizes $504 billion in budget authority for the Department of Defense (DoD) and the national security programs of the Department of Energy.  Additionally, the legislation authorizes $142 billion in supplemental funding to support current operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere in the Global War on Terrorism. 

Member statements follow:

Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA): “This committee once again addresses the wide range of important national security activities undertaken by the Department of Defense and the Department of Energy in a productive, bipartisan manner.  We all take our legislative responsibilities—as well as our oversight responsibilities—very seriously.  This is especially true during a time of war.  I thank my good friend and colleague, Chairman Ike Skelton, for spearheading an excellent effort to put together a National Defense Authorization Act that reflects our committee’s strong and continued support for the brave men and women of the United States armed services. 

“This bill is a good bill.  It authorizes the President’s request for $504 billion for Fiscal Year 2008 base budget of the Department of Defense and national security programs of the Department of Energy.  It includes an additional $142 billion to cover Fiscal Year 2008 war costs.  And the Army and Marine Corps end-strength growth in this legislation continues initiatives started several years ago: in Fiscal Year 2008 the Army will be authorized at 525,400—13,000 more than we authorized last year—and the Marine Corps will be authorized at 189,000—9,000 more than last year.

“Some of the excellent initiatives in this legislation continue successful programs—such as the Commanders Emergency Response Program, which is working well on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan.  Others reinforce good legislation that the House has already passed—such as Wounded Warrior legislation to address the challenges that face our recovering service members and families.  Still others modify existing authorities or establish new programs and policies, which hold promise—such as adding $4.1 billion for the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle.”

Rep. Jim Saxton (R-NJ): “The Fiscal Year 2008 defense authorization bill reflects our objective of balancing the health and capability of the current force with the needs of future capability.  Once again, this bill places force protection issues at the top of the priority list for Congress.  By including $4.1 billion for Army and Marine Corps Mine Resistance Ambush Protected vehicles, we will ensure our forces in Iraq have the needed state-of-the-art equipment to defend against improvised explosive devices.  Additionally, we take a step toward meeting our airlift needs by providing $2.4 billion for an additional ten C-17’s.”  

Rep. John McHugh (R-NY): “In my time as Chairman of the Military Personnel Subcommittee, and as its current Ranking Member, I have had the opportunity to see the good these funds do for our soldiers.  Improving military health care, upgrading living conditions, and soldier’s pay and benefits are just a few of the components that make this such critical legislation.  I strongly support this bipartisan effort to provide our troops with the essential supplies necessary to defend the United States.”

Rep. Terry Everett (R-AL):  “This defense authorization bill continues our strong history of holding candid conversations and identifying, in a bipartisan manner, a prudent way forward that best serves the warfighter and our national security interests.  Despite a reduction of more than $1 billion to the President's budget request for programs under the jurisdiction of the Strategic Forces Subcommittee, this bill advances our national defense interests.  I continue to have concerns about the reductions made to missile defense.  I look forward to working with Rep. Tauscher and my colleagues as we bring this overall good bill to the House floor.” 

Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD):  "There was no debate, and it took only twelve minutes for our colleagues on the Full Committee to approve the provisions of this bill under the jurisdiction of the Seapower and Expeditionary Forces Subcommittee.  That is a reflection of the leadership and dedication to bipartisanship by my good friend and former Ranking Member and current Chairman Gene Taylor.   I want to thank the other Members and the staff for their hard work collaborating on improvements in policies and equipment for the men and women who volunteer to serve us in the Armed Forces.  I want to draw attention to several provisions. 

“We worked with Chairman Skelton, Ranking Member Hunter and our colleagues on the Air and Land Subcommittee to authorize $4.1 billion for the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle to better protect soldiers and Marines from IED's which are the number one cause of injuries and deaths in Iraq.  We addressed problems with LCS while ensuring continued competition between the two designs.   We fully support the remainder of President Bush's shipbuilding budget and have increased the total number of ships to be built.

“We took several important steps to ensure continued naval superiority against future threats.  For instance, China is aggressively building a Blue Water navy. We provide funding for long lead items to support accelerating construction of VA Class submarines to two per year.  We will also reduce the vulnerability of our logistical tail that is dependent upon oil by requiring nuclear propulsion for the next generation cruiser.”  

Rep.  Jo Ann Davis (R-VA): "I am pleased with the Readiness portions of the National Defense Authorization Act. With a $250 million increase to service Operations and Maintenance (O&M) accounts and a $165 million increase to depot maintenance accounts, these provisions will increase the readiness levels of the services. I look forward to working with Rep. Ortiz and members of the committee as the bill moves to the House floor."

Rep.  Todd Akin (R-MO): “I am pleased to announce our hard work on the House Armed Services Committee has resulted in the addition of ten C-17's, which is the workhorse of the Air Force's military machine.  The C-17 is crucial to our Air Force's missions around the globe.  It not only projects power and strength to the world, it delivers the necessary hardware to our troops on the ground, and is an instrumental part of the humanitarian causes that our military is called on to conduct.”

"In a strict party line vote, Democrats slammed the Army modernization program with a 25% cut, casting a cloud over the first major modernization program in four decades. This action will delay or deny our warfighter critical networked information and the system to capitalize on that information. That system is known as FCS.”

Rep. Jeff Miller (R-FL): “Many critics say our international image has been irreparably damaged by Guantanamo and therefore must be closed. It is a falsehood that the never ending chorus of critics would immediately fall silent after the closing of Guantanamo and the transfer of detainees to the United States.  Countries that do not grant equal rights to women, stifle the press, imprison dissenters and condone racism and religious discrimination have no business criticizing our detention facility.  Additionally, a defense policy or foreign policy crafted and implemented to appease the worst of the worst, is no policy I wish to subscribe to.

“Six years after September 11th- Americans deserve the right to see Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and others tried for war crimes without delay.  I’m glad to see that my Democrat colleagues agree.”

Rep. John Kline (R-MN):  “I am pleased that the committee has addressed many vital initiatives to promote the welfare of our troops deployed in harm’s way.  In many ways, this bill builds on our previous success by again authorizing the Wounded Warriors legislation and supporting key DoD programs like the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle. 

“I was particularly pleased that the committee likewise supported new initiatives, such as my amendment to establish a nationwide program to assist combat veterans from the Reserve Component to successfully reintegrate back into their communities.  The Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program will help fill a large gap in the support structure for our National Guard and Reserves.

“I am disappointed, however, by the inability of the committee to perform its primary function—authorizing funds for our troops.  When presented with my amendment to authorize a ‘clean’ supplemental funding bill, they instead denied a vote on this crucial amendment.” 

Rep. Congressman Phil Gingrey (R-GA): “We must carefully approach our defense budget to ensure we’re funding both the ongoing War on Terror and our efforts to combat more traditional threats. The Republican amendments my colleagues and I offered strengthened this legislation, and even those overruled by the majority party served to further the debate on how we fund our military priorities.  While we work to secure funding for our nation’s defense, we must also be good stewards of the taxpayer dollar. This is why I fought so hard to prevent the Air Force from repealing language that restricts the retirement of C-5s without a cost analysis that justifies doing so. Providing for our nation’s defense is one of the foremost responsibilities of this body, and I continue to oppose any effort to shortchange our troops and the security of our country.”

Highlights of the bill include:

  • An additional $142 billion in supplemental funding to support the Global War on Terrorism’s operational costs, personnel expenses and procurement of new equipment for Fiscal Year 2008.
  • Additional funding for force protection needs in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom, including $4.1 billion for state-of-the-art Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles.
  • Additional increases of 13,000 Army and 9,000 Marine Corps active duty personnel to sustain our required missions. 
  • A 3.5% pay raise for all members of the armed forces in 2008 and guaranteed pay raises in 2009, 2010 and 2011 to reduce the military-civilian pay disparity.
  • $2.4 billion for an additional 10 C-17’s to support intra-theater airlift requirements and meet the airlift needs for the increased end strength in the Army and Marine Corps.
  • An additional $1 billion for National Guard equipment.
  • Extends the prohibition the committee enacted last year on increases to TRICARE Prime and TRICARE Standard.
  • Extends the prohibition the committee enacted last year on retail pharmacy cost share increases.  
  • Provides $250 million to address training shortfalls throughout the services and adds $165 million for depot maintenance.
  • Provides a stipend to partially compensate people for the SBP-DIC offset and begins providing combat-related special compensation to some medically retired military personnel with between 15 and 20 years of service.
  • Authorizes capital expenditure investments for U.S. shipyards to be repaid through contract savings in order to improve shipyard efficiency, cost-effectiveness and international competitiveness and requires U.S. shipyards to certify they have attempted to recruit U.S. workers prior to hiring foreign nationals for the construction of U.S. Navy vessels.
  • Prohibits the Department of Defense and defense contractors from procuring goods or services from a source owned or controlled by an entity sanctioned by the U.S. Department of State for violating the Iran and Syria Nonproliferation Act (Public Law 106-178).

H.R. 1585 is expected to be considered on the House floor in the coming weeks.