Thursday, May 15, 2008

Gingrey votes to approve FY’09 Defense Authorization

U.S. Congressman Phil Gingrey, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, voted late last night to approve H.R. 5658, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2009.

“I am proud to join my colleagues on the Armed Services Committee in support of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2009. Like most legislation, this bill we passed out of committee is not perfect, but it represents months of hard work and bipartisan debate and compromise. Further, I am extremely pleased this bill will ensure America's continued air superiority by providing advance procurement funds for an additional lot of F-22A Raptors. The Committee also unanimously approved my amendment which reaffirms the Congress’s support of the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation. While this bill could be improved by fully funding America's missile defense priorities and the Army Future Combat Systems, it is essentially a good bill that provides for the immediate needs of the warfighter and addresses readiness concerns.”

H.R. 5658 authorizes $531.4 billion in budget authority for the Department of Defense (DoD) and the national security programs of the Department of Energy. Additionally, the legislation authorizes an additional $70 billion in supplemental funding to support current operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere in the Global War on Terrorism. The bill is expected to be considered on the House floor in the coming weeks.

Included in the bill are several provisions that Rep. Gingrey fought hard for, including $523 million in advance procurement funds for an additional lot of F-22A Raptor fighter jets and language supporting the WHINSEC program at Ft. Benning.

“As the world’s only 5th Generation Fighter line currently in full-rate production, the F-22A Raptor is the key component of our nation’s air superiority platform,” said Gingrey. “With procurement of the Joint Strike Fighter in significant numbers being several years away, recent concerns over the safety of the F-15 fleet, and the development of 5th generation technology by countries like China and Russia, it is imperative that we provide funding to keep the production line open.”

“By including funding for the advance procurement of an additional lot of 20 F-22’s, Congress recognized the importance of the F-22 to maintaining our nation’s air superiority.” continued Gingrey.

Additional provisions in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2009 include:

· Additional funding for force protection needs in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom, including $2.6 billion for state-of-the-art Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles; $947 million for Up-Armored HMMWV’s; and $2.2 billion for Abrams tank, Bradley fighting vehicle, and Stryker vehicle upgrades.

· An additional $800 million for National Guard and Reserve equipment.

· Provides $8.6 billion for the Army and $1.8 billion for the Marine Corps to support reset.

· More than $246 million to for counter rocket, artillery, and mortar systems.

· Includes $744 million in advance procurement funding to allow the Navy to start building 2 Virginia Class submarines in 2011.

· Increases of 7,000 Army and 5,000 Marine Corps active duty personnel to sustain our required missions.

· A 3.9% pay raise for all members of the armed forces in 2009 and guaranteed pay raises in 2010, 2011 and 2012 to reduce the military-civilian pay disparity.

· Extends the prohibition the committee enacted last year on retail pharmacy cost share increases.

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