Washington D.C. – House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Adam Smith (WA-09) made the following statement on the release of the Chairman’s Mark:
“I would like to thank all the member of the committee – both Republicans and Democrats – as well as staff for all their hard work in drafting this important piece of legislation. It truly was a bipartisan effort. This legislation works to meet the threats we face today as well as into the future. It also reflects our strong commitment to ensure that the men and women of our Armed Services receive the benefits and support they deserve for their faithful service.
“While this mark provides significant support for our military, the men and women in uniform as well as their families, it also fails to make the difficult choices necessary to address to crushing financial constraints placed on this budget by Congress. This year, we had two options: we could have stepped up and made the difficult choices in regard to retiring aging weapons systems and platforms, authorized a BRAC, or made changes to military compensation and benefits or ended sequestration. We decided to do neither.
“If we continue along this path, and sequestration remains the law of the land, our military readiness will be significantly degraded. In today’s world, that is unacceptable and it is wholly avoidable, which is why I support ending sequestration immediately.
“While it is not our role to accept the defense budget entirely as it is presented, it is also not our role to made significant changes that cause the Department of Defense harm based on parochial interest. As we mark up the bill this week, I urge all members of the Armed Services Committee to present and evaluate proposals based on their national security merits, not their parochial pull.
“Moving forward, there will be disagreements, but we must continue to resolve our disagreements respectfully and with the same outcome in mind: provide our service men and women with the tools and resources they need to do their job and protect national security.
“I applaud the hard work of the members of this committee and committee staff. This committee always lives up to its commitment to bipartisanship and I expect nothing less as we mark up this important piece of legislation.”