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tv   Armed Services Committee Marks Up Defense Authorization Bill  CSPAN  June 28, 2017 3:06pm-5:07pm EDT

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tsongas, which require as briefing by the office of the secretary of defense on the military services ability to provide child care development services, on military installations. amendment 63 by mr. wilson. which works to stabilize military families in the event of a pcs that is not adventurous to work or school for the family. amendment 66, by mr. scott, which changes the regular update for the regular update for prescription drug pricing standards under tri-care retail pharmacy program. amendment 74 by mr. o'rourke. which require as mental health examination for service members before they transition from military along with existing physical exam. amendment 87 by ms. spear which directs the secretary of the navy to revise a policy to make former dependantses of members
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of the armed forces eligible for representation by legal counsel if the dependant was the victim of be a alleged sexual offense by a member of the armed forces. that's all, mr. chairman. >> other discussion on en bloc package number one? the gentleman from south carolina? >> thank you, mr. chairman and thank you for allowing me to speak on the en bloc amendments, as the grateful member of a military family i know firsthand the challenges the families face and we regularly here about this from the struggle of frequent relocations and prolonged deployments. as the former chairman of the military personnel subcommittee and current chairman on the ranking subcommittee i appreciate how critical the success and happiness of our military families are to troop readiness and retention. the military family stability amendments in the en bloc package supports military families by giving them a greater flexibility to plan for relocation it grants families
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the option to of remaining in their existing station for up to six months or relocate up to six months early. of a permanent change of station. it further allows families to choose where to use their housing allowance. this amendment provides greater support to families with school-aged children, allowing them to relocate at semester breaks, rather than at the middle of the school year. which provides greater flexibility for the career or education of military spouses. i am grateful that increasing stability for military families by granting additional relocation flexibility is bipartisan. i particularly like to recognize congressman, congresswoman susan davis for joining me in introducing this measure as a stand-alone bill last month and of course the leadership now of chairman mike kaufman. this measure is also supported by many military veterans service organizations, military family organizations, including
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the national military family association, the military officers association of america, the military child education coalition, veterans of foreign wars, the american legion, american, iraq and afghanistan veterans of america blue star families. the national guard association of the united states and veterans support foundation. families to are the backbone of our military. we should support them as they stand up for us. mr. chairman, i urge the passage of the en bloc passed amendments. >> further discussion on the en bloc package? if not the question occurs on the amendment offered by the gentleman from colorado. those in favor say aye? being the chair the ayes have it and the amendments are adopted. further amendments to this subcommittee's mark, gentlelady from california? >> i have an amendment at the desk. >> the clerk will distribute the amendment. without objection, the amendment
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is considered as read and the gentlelady is recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. this amendment would extend the application of military select i service registration and conscription requirements to female citizens and u.s. residents between the ages of 18-26. it's near identical to the amendment that was approved by a vote of 32-30 during last year mark-up. the only difference is a change to reflect the fact that the secretary of has now certified to congress that all combat positions are open to qualified female candidates. let me remind the committee of some of the key points from last year's debate. the sponsor of this amendment one year ago rightly described the draft as sex it. that is no less true today. in 1981, the supreme court upheld the exclusion of women from selective service, because the purpose of registration is to prepare a draft of combat troops that ruling is no longer applicable as qualified women are now eligible for combat
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positions. the position of the chairman of the joint chiefs and the chief of staff of the army remain unchanged. if you vote yes on this amendment, you're voting with both of them. cbo assesses that this amendment will reduce federal spending. colleagues, as many said during last year's mark-up, this injustice is our responsibility to address. it's time to stop delaying the inevitable with stddyes and parliamentary gymnastics that undermine the will of the committee. i don't want to see daughters put in a place where they'll be drafted. i also don't want to seasons put in a place where they'll be drafted i don't think any of us wants to see anyone's children put in a place where they will be drafted if it does come to a draft, men and women should be treated equally. my colleagues from massachusetts, ms. tsongas noted, gender equality is achieved when women and men enjoy the same rights, the same opportunities and the same obligations across all sectors of society. and that includes military
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service. that remains as true today as it did a year ago and i urge the committee to vote now as it did then. i thank the chairman and i yield back. >> i yield to myself in opposition. we discussed this issue a year ago and we have moved on. it is signed into law that there is a commission, it has been appointed, it is operating, that is first looking at whether we need a draft or not. and secondly, if we do need a draft, who should be drafted. so that was the outcome of the conference agreement last year. that is in law, that is under way. and i think that is, is certainly what makes sense rather than rehashing past debates. again, the first question is, and i don't know the answer, to tell you the truth. whether we continue to need selective service or not. that's what this commission is looking at. and if it decides we do, then it
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is looking at who should be drafted. obviously any change to current law has to come back to us, but i think we have to ask first questions first. and that's what current law does. we ought to let it operate. >> other comments on this, ms. tsongas? >> thank you, mr. chairman. and i do appreciate that there is a commission in place. but as it's making analysis, its analysis, i think it's important to reiterate the important role that we could play. analysis conducted for the defense advisory committee on women in the service, estimated that 29% of young people ages 17-24 meet eligibility criteria for military service. that eligibility pool is pretty equally divided between men and women. including women in this selective service system insures that and the very unlikely possibility that a draft becomes necessary, the full scope of the
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talents of all our citizens are available in our time of need. given the nature of war today, women are virtually always in the fight. i have visited iraq and afghanistan a number of times. while there i have interacted with our talented service women. these women have served side by side with their male counterparts. but it isn't just on the front lines that women are serving our country. at military installations across our country and the world, women are serving as military scientists, program managers, engineering, physicians, lab technicians, being other roles. as representative spear just mentioned last year i said and i reiterate today, gender equality is achieved when women and men enjoy the same rights, opportunities, and obligations across all sectors of society. including military service. and when different behaviors, aspirations and needs of women and men are equally valued. including women in the draft is
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a step toward equality. an army chief of staff, mark millie and marine command dant mark miller have both testified in support of women in the military. i urge my colleagues to support it again and i yield back. >> mr. scott? >> thank you, mr. chairman. i would just remind people we're not talking about voluntarily service in the military. i think everybody on this committee and virtually every american thinks that our wives and daughters, if they decide they want to serve the country in the military should be allowed to serve in the military. you're talking about a draft. you're talking about forcing somebody to go to war. that's what the selective service is used for. so when -- i listen to all of these arguments on the other side. and i'm just to be honest with you, mr. chairman, just baffled by them. you're not talking about whether or not a lady can serve.
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you're talking about whether or not a mother has to go to war during a time of a draft. i'm opposed to the amendment and look forward to voting against it. >> if there's no further discussion, the vote occurs on the amendment offered by the gentlelady from california, ms. spear, those in favor say i. the no's have it. the no's -- >> mr. chairman, i'd like a roll call. >> the gentlelady asks for a roll call vote is there support for a roll call? there is, further proceedings will be postponed. further amendments on this section of the mark? gentleman from california, mr. carbahol. >> thank you, mr. chair -- i have an amendment at the desk. >> the clerk will rapidly distribute the amendment. >> i was going to get to that.
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>> without objection, it is considered as read. gentleman is recognized. >> thank you, mr. chair. this amendment would amend the current tri-care system so we can assure our service members, are provided the same access to preventive health services as those insured under the affordable care act. including preventive services, screenings for gestational diabetes with, no co-payment. smoking cessation and over-the-counter drugs it would create greater parody between the tri-care program and the aca requirements regarding free coverage for preventish health services. all preventive health care services provided under this new authority will be provided to beneficiaries free of charge. this statutory change will permit a more timely adoption, a more preventive health care services and screenings consistent with the evolving national trends for tri-care
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beneficiaries. as new evidence-based preventive health care services become available, a delay currently occurs in providing these services to tri-care beneficiaries. if the law is not changed. current law only allows for only specific preventive health care services, and cancer screenings for tri-care beneficiaries. this amendment would also cover child care through age 17 along with women's preventive services and screenings gestational diabetes. this amendment is about providing our service members with the same health services as those covered under the affordable care act. and that we as members of congress enjoy today. unfortunately, due to sequential referral issues, i will be withdrawing this amendment, but i look forward to debating it on the floor. i yield back, mr. chair. >> amendment is withdrawn.
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further amendments, gentlelady from california? >> i have an amendment at the desk. >> the clerk will distribute the amendment without objection. the amendment is considered as read, the gentlelady is recognized for five minutes. >> the 4.6 million women who receive health care through the department of defense are not second-class citizens. yet these women are currently receiving health care that is objectively inferior to civilian plans, access to contraception is absolutely central to women's health and well-being and the department of defense should not give service women and their dpa dependants fewer options. recent studies have shown that women in the military have a 60% higher rate, let me repeat that, a 60% higher rate of unplanned pregnancy than the general population. this has a negative effect on ready since, since nearly 10% of active duty service women were
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unable to deploy as a result of pregnancy according to a 2011 department of defense report. these disturbing statistics are a direct result of beariers to service women's abilities to access contraception and family planning counseling. under the aca, civilian women are required to have access to fda-approved contraception and counseling free of cost. however, some active duty service members and all nonactive duty service members and military family dependants experience cost-related barriers to care, depending on the type of contraception they use and if they fill their prescription outside of a military treatment facility. for many of these women getting to a base to access birth control is simply not possible. now inactive duty includes, those service women who are on active duty, but away for training. or who are having annual training or who have been on active duty for less than 30 days. it also applies to all those in the reserves, national guard,
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retirees and military family dependants. military families deserve access to all the tools necessary to make and form family planning decisions, that's why this amendment would bring tri-care in line with the standard birth control coverage offered by civilian health insurance plans by removing cost share requirements for obtaining birth control at a military treatment facility it would also remove cost-sharing for contraceptive care including insertion and removal of contraceptive methods like iuds. service members and their families deserve the same level of care of civilians we fight to protect. it's only fair to stand up for those who stand up and fight for our freedom daily. i would like to yield some time to mr. visey from texas. >> thank you, representative spear. and i appreciate the opportunity to be able to offer my support for this very important amendment. and just want to echo what you
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talked about. about the importance of bringing tri-care in line with standrd birth control coverage offered by civilian health insurance plans. this is very important. i can't think of an issue that has probably been ignored as long as the issue of birth control and family planning and we've seen the devastating consequences of that. and by empowering women and empowering families, to be able to have coverage and to be able to also have the opportunity to be offered again what is standard birth control coverage, i think is very important. we need to make sure that it happens and we need to make sure that our service members and their families have the same level of coverage and care as the civilians do that protect, that they protect and that they fight for every day. that work for the federal government. and i urge the committee to accept this amendment and i reserve the balance of my time.
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>> i now yield the remaining time to mr. coniff in california. >> thank you, representative spear. and thank you for being a trail blazer and pioneer on issues of gender equality. as a new member of congress i found it appalling that military families don't have the same access to contraception as civilians. i would never have guessed that we still have this disparity. it seems to me just basic common sense, that we should give those who fight and protect us, the same access to contraception as those who are civilians, so i appreciate your leadership on this. thank you. >> with the 32 seconds i have left. i would give you that time. >> thank you, ms. spear. clearly, service members and their families deserve the same level of coverage and care as the civilians, that they fight for. the spear amendment would bring
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tri-care in line with standard birth control coverage offered by civilian health insurance plans. and removes cost-sharing. i also, it also removes cost-sharing for contraceptive care in general. ms. spear, i just want to thank you for your leadership on this issue. i yield back. mr. chair. >> other discussion on the amendment? >> gentleman from oklahoma. >> thank you, mr. chairman. while the intent is certainly good to have those that serve in the military and their families and others to do deal with family planning, having spent a career in armed forces and raised a family in the military, it's not completely foreign, these issues. however, i'm very concerned with language in the amendment, mr. chairman. because it talks about providing any method of contraception. if we look at equivalents, to
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some of the plans that are covered in civilian health insurance, and also other types of plans that could include abortifacients and counseling that may not be within the hyde amendment language, i think this amendment has major gaps in it and for that reason i urge my colleagues to vote against it. thank you, mr. chairman, i yield back. >> mr. harcsler? >> sure i guess i had a question. what is the cost of this? do we have an estimate of how much increased cost is going to be for tri-care? >> the way we have framed this amendment, there is negligible cost. >> how can -- >> reclaim my time. >> how can k there be no cost if we're providing free contraception to all of the family members now? >> well, first of all, if you're on a base you're getting that, anyway. this is if you're not on the base. and if you have an unintended
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pregnancy, the costs actually are much higher than if you offer birth control pills. so we only provided in terms of generic or mail order. >> thank you, yield back. >> further discussion on the amendment? if not, the question is on the amendment offered by the gentlelady from california, ms. speier, those in favor say aye. those opposed say no. >> no. >> hmmmm. being the chair the no's have it, i guess. >> i request -- >> it's a close call. >> it is. >> gentlelady from california asked for a recorded vote. there's support. and further proceedings will be postponed. further amendments? gentleman from colorado?
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>> mr. chairman i ask unanimous consent to call up en bloc package number two, consisting of amendments that have been worked out and approved with the majority. minority. >> without objection, so ordered. the clerk will distribute the en bloc package without objection, it is considered as read. and the gentleman from colorado is recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. amendment number 30, by mr. jones which directs a one-year extension of pilot program for prescription drug acquisition,s could parity in the tri-care pharmacy benefits program. amendment 52 r, ms. tsongas, which requires a, the secretary of defense briefing outline service-wide efforts to increase the propensity of women to serve
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in the armeded forces. amendment 67 by mr. scott provision regarding the establishment of rotc cyber institutes at senior military colleges. amendment 84 r 1, by mr. smith, which directs the secretary to carry out a pilot program to provide health care assistance, services to certain covered beneficiaries. amendment 88 r 3 by ms. speier which directs that if there is a military prosecution of an alleged sex-related offense, the special victims counsel shall be entitled to a copy of all case information that is in possession of the prosecutor and is not privileged. amendment 164, by mr. gallego which directs the secretary of the army to establish a scholarship program in minority serving institutions, amendment 175 by dr. abraham which directs the secretary of defense a
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permit to outlining the process included the peri health professionals used in mhs. amendment 225 by mr. whitman which grants permission to the secretary of transportation to designate covered training entities as centers of excellence for domestic and maritime workforce training and education. amendment 261 by mr. cana, which authorizes the armed forces retirement home to lease excess property. >> just to clarify the amendment from mr. whitman is number 224 rather than anything else. all right. any -- >> 224. >> further discussion on the en bloc package number 2? >> if not the question occurs on
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the amendment offered by the gentleman from colorado. those in favor say aye. >> aye. >> those opposed say no. being the chair the ayes having it and the amendments are adopted. further amendments on this section of the mark? ms. speier. >> i have an amend amendment at the desk, mr. chairman. >> without objection the amendment is considered read and the gentlelady is recognized for five minutes. >> this is an issue that many of you have heard me speak about many times before this is the issue of sexual assault in the military where some 15,000 men and women each year are sexually assaulted, only about 5,000 of them actually report it. of those, only about 500 go to court-martial. and of those, only 250 are actually sentenced. most recently, i was at our air force academy and spent a lot of time with our cadets, because the newest report that's come out suggests that it is prevalent in our academies as well. and at the air force academy for
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instance, 47% of the cadets experienced sexual harassment. it's a pretty stunning statistic and those are the individuals who will then go on to be our leaders. if in fact we allow for sexual assault, sexual harassment to be acceptable in our academies, you can imagine what's going to happen in our forces, and we know the numbers of women joining the military is increasing, it's now about 20%. and again, the number of those who are sexually assaulted are for the most part, men, i might add, women just represent a higher percentage because of their numbers. so this amendment keeps the decision-making in the military. it doesn't take it out of the military. it makes the determination as to whether an investigation should move forward, or a court-martial
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should move forward in the hands of the chief prosecutor in each of the services. under the current system, commanding officers in the defendant's chain of command decide whether to prosecute criminal offenses. these commanders are not attorneys. convening authorities receive only a few hours of legal training. the staff judge advocates who advise them are also typically not expert in military justice system. most focus on administrative law and any direct court-martial experience is years behind them. i've often heard that commanders must lead the efforts to combat sexual assault. and i couldn't agree more. what i hear less about is how the system prevents commanders from cracking down on sexual assault. i want to share with you just a case that came down a few months ago. in the u.s. court of appeals for the armed forces, they threw out airman rodney boyce's rape and assault conviction this is someone who was convicted in a court-martial.
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it was thrown out because of the involvement of the lieutenant-general craig franklin who referred the case to court-martial. this all came about because in 2013, general franklin was admonishing by his superiors for tossing out the aggravated sexual assault conviction of a fellow f-16 pilot. but because franklin was justly and correctly admonished for this abuse of power. the u.s. court of afeels found his subsequent decision to move forward with the entirely separate boyce case constituted unlawful command influence this is made more ridiculous by two facts. first, the military judge during the actual trial found no evidence of unlawful command influence. second, the appeals court that threw out the boyce case also didn't find evidence of unlawful command influence. just the appearance of it. the franklin case shows we have placed commanding officers in an impossible position. if they decline to press charges, they may be seen as favoring the defendant.
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if they learn from the experience, and press charges on a subsequent case, that decision may be seen as unlawful command influence. this is a no-win scenario. it erodes trust in commanders and it erodes good order and discipline at a time when our nation faces significant threats abroad this is not just a matter of fairness, it's a matter of national security. it's far past time for us to fix this system. fixing the system keeps the decision-making in the military, the decisions to investigate or pursue a court-martial would just be determined by the person who is most equipped to do that. and that would be the prosecutor in each of, the chief prosecutor in each of the services. so with that, mr. chairman, i ask my colleagues to support the amendment and i yield back. >> mr. turner? >> thank you, mr. chairman.
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ms. speier is right this is an issue that we've dealt with many times before. we've dealt with it correctly by enacting a number of reforms that have made a difference in the manner in which both sexual assault prevention is undertaken, through training, sexual assault protection of victims through victims' counsel and also additional training, but also prosecution. and one of the things that we did is we changed the chain of command process. so the manner that the issue that ms. speier is speaking about is actually not what we have today. in addition to our having removed article 60, where a commander could have actually overturned a decision from a, for a conviction, we've also changed the process by which these cases are reviewed and a recommendation for prosecution goes forward. and to give you just some statistics, that relate to the defense department's annual report on sexual assault in fiscal year '16, commanders had
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sufficient evidence to take action against 64% of alleged offenders in sexual assault. military commanders used the court-martial process to adjudicate 59% of allegations involving service members within their jurisdiction. these statistics clearly indicate that prosecutions are moving forward and furthermore it's been our understanding and others, who have reviewed this that it's actually probably higher than what is actually occurring in the civilian courts. we have adopted a number of provisions with respect to this, including on a bipartisan basis, having established the response systems panel that reviewed this issue for us, for nearly a year. and they found no evidence to support removing the commander or that it would removing the commander would increase prosecutions. they did, however, recommend changes that we have undertaken. which again this congress did. and that totally revamped the process that a sexual assault claim goes forward. if a sexual assault case is
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reported, the law currently requires that the case be investigated by professional investigators who actually do have experience. throughout the investigation, prosecutors are consulted on the type of evidence needed, any additional information required to make the determination. after their investigation is completed, it goes to the prosecutor who is experienced and trained in sexual assault cases and the lowest level at which decisions can be made about sexual assault case is the 06 command level, it's referred up the chain of command. if the case is recommended for the a court-martial, it goes to the next higher command for referral. before a decision is made about referral, the commander and the commander's lawyer must agree if there's a disagreement, and if the case, if the lawyers are recommending that the case go forward, but the commander is recommending that it does not, it goes all the way to the service secretary for review. so far, there are no cases that have had to go up that chain to the service secretary for disposition. now there's a number of reasons to leave it within the chain of command obviously which include the commander's spoblt. the fact they do have prevention
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responsibilitiles, they have cohesion, also in issues where we have the combat environment, but the main issue think that we must review this on is that there is no need for it. the other aspect is, this would consolidate basically in the pentagon, a huge funnel of all of these cases. and would result in time delays that we don't have time for. both these victims and the need for a commander to have morale in their unit, require quick action, the action that we currently have in place. now not all the provisions that we have adopted over the last five years have been, have yet come to fruition for us to show their impact and some of them are still even in the process of being implemented from the 2017 nda. but this is not needed. it would be disruptive and it certainly does not help the films of sexual assault. i yield back. >> ms. tsongas. >> thank you, mr. chairman, i
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want to thank congresswoman speier for continuing to raise this very important issue. that obviously merits the attention she has brought to it. congressman turner is so right this committee has worked on a bipartisan basis and i commend him for all his significant leadership in that area. to make a number of changes over the years to how the military addresses this scourge of sexual assault in its ranks, making sure that every victim of military sexual assault receives an attorney. making sure jury verdicts can't be overturned and insuring that those who are convicted of sexual assault will absolutely be processed for discharge. there's no place for those who are convicted of sexual assault in the military. these changes give the military and its leaders additional tools and resources to demonstrate that when these crimes occur, justice is served. however, there are still many worthy questions that deserve our attention. such as -- should a commander have the authority to make the
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final decision on whether a criminal case should proceed to trial? will that change have a significant impact on the military's ability to confront and eliminate this all too pervasive crime? ultimately we have to get this right. this is a multifaceted challenge and it requires efforts on all fronts, and i think we all agree that by itself, simply changing a commander's authority will not get rid of the scourge of military sexual assault. and yet in an institution defined by the chain of command, and the dictates of deference inherit in that command structure, commanders have played a crucial role. we need a change from a culture that too often, or often enough allow as general to be promoted, after he perpetuates a toxic military culture that accepts harassment and criminal behavior as the norm. i should say he or she. a change from a culture where service members can be more afraid of their fellow soldiers than they are of the enemy.
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and we have all heard such stories. and we need a change in an organization when last year, d.o.d. estimated that nearly 15,000 active-duty service members experienced a sexual assault in the prior year. military commanders must understand how key they are to changing this culture. and held accountable when they do not serve the interests of decency, professionalism and justice. i do have concerns over how this particular amendment would be logistically implemented and what collateral consequence there is might be for the ucmj, where many changes have recently been absorbed. however, i feel this amendment is timely and sends an important message that we need to continue the conversation about commander authority. and i will support its passage. i look forward to continuing to work with congresswoman speier and the many other who is have taken such an active role in this very serious issue. and looking forward to examine the full scope of the impact of
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this proposed amendment. but i do thank congresswoman speier for raising this important issue and i yield back. >> mr. russell? >> thank you, mr. chairman. we hear stories, we hear phrases like -- the norm. we all degree in sexual harassment cases or sexual crimes, one incidents is too many. we would all agree with those statements, but here's the truth. the trend in the last seven years is down, not up. that is not the case in the general public at large. the programs are also sound and implemented by current leaders that often face the greatest criticism. tools such as sharp and samper have not only statistically proven effective, they bear great scrutiny for the same when we see university statistics by
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comparison to our military academies, who mr. chairman, one, statement was that these are our future leaders, as if somehow they were flawed and broke innocent production of those leaders, the ncaa and university statistics by comparison are 36% worse. worse. what does that mean? that means that the general public at large ought to be knocking on the doors of our service academies and ask them how they are doing such a fantastically better job. still one incident is too many. but it's not because it's broken or the military somehow doesn't have a handle on it or that commanders and the uniform code of military justice is somehow in need of being fixed. the importance of commanders queries, 15-6 investigations, i.g. investigations, criminal dwegs investigations and the
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like are paramount to all commanders and the tools they possess. i've used those tools as a commander at various levels in the various organizations that i commanded. to include sending people to prison for sexual crimes to suggest that because commanders have these tools that they will somehow not be capable of using the uniform code of military justice to bring justice in good order and discipline in the military is absolutely absurd. once again what we see, mr. chairmanning, is an attempt to move the military away from its own separate justice system. one more chip, one more knock, one more crack, so that commanders no longer have the ability to establish good order and discipline in their organizations. if staff judge advocates, mr. chairman, is one statement was made, are not experts in the ucmj, then my goodness, who is? after all, they go to school specifically and are legally
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trained specifically to understand the uniform code of military justice. one anecdote was service academies maybe they can't hand it will and should refer these to outside sources, three dozen referrals were made to magistrates and only one was accepted. and all of the others were sent back to that service academy so obviously they were doing such an unjust and terrible job, that they couldn't be trusted. taking away commanders' authority is exactly what we do not need. why would we take away the authority that is 36% better at our service academies than our college and universities and why would we take away authority, when we see the military as an institution that sees its own problems, you would never see these types of actions and certainly not in so quick a
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fashion as you see in the military. out in the civilian community. what we don't need is unnecessary congressional interference in the uniform code of military justice. oversight? yes. hearing as? yes. what we don't need, though, is to break what is a better-performing uniform code and a better set of standards, and i urge my colleagues not only to oppose this amendment, but to stand with commanders and the military. and mr. chairman, i yield back. >> ms. davis? >> thank you, mr. chairman and to everyone who has spoken on this issue because it has been a long time that we've been working with it. and frustrating and just about every other thing i could say. because we all want to get to the same place, i remember one day going up to camp pendleton to speak to the commander there, and we were focused specifically
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on this issue. and when was happening. and in the course of my sitting there, he got a phone call. it was another case that had just been referred to him. and he had already had one that day. so -- i was certainly convinced of the problem. there was no question about that. but i also know that in working hard, we began to develop better partnerships. i think mr. turner spoke to this. so that there's much more discussion, there's certainly a consciousness. but beyond that, some way so that all the stakeholders are part of the solution. i also saw the changes that came about as i spoke to particularly women on bases, that a special counsel has had on their ability to understand the system. they're are still problems with this but for many, at least they know what their rights are and that somebody can be there and stand in for them as well.
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that's made a big difference. what did concern me and all of these discussions that we had, was a sense from many of our judge advocates that they actually pushed not to go to trial. more than a commander. because a commanders have more passion, more concern, they knew the people that were involved. and they wanted to make that happen. and unfortunately, folks who you know, really good, good at what they did, didn't have that same, that same interest, really. because it could be that they would have a number of cases, of he said/she said. in many cases he said/he said, or she said/she said, that in those cases it would be too difficult to get any agreement, to get you know, a conviction. and so therefore, they tended to stay away from them. but commanders, not all, we had bad apples in this. we all acknowledge that.
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and there still are, i'm sure. with you at least those commanders really wanted to see that case resolved. so i'm glad that we took the actions that we did i've always held out that i'm willing to go forward. i think that this is a different way of looking at it. and i greatly appreciate my colleague. ms. speier and all the people, all the women on both sides of the aisle particularly got involved in this issue. because we heard from too many cases. when i go to stand down in san diego, and i ask for all the women to come join me in a tent, and talk about their issues, you know, last time we met i probably had 25 women, they all came to the tent to talk about this. it is still a problem. but i haven't, you know, i, i do believe that we really have the solution at hand in the ability of people to interface on this. and we need to continue to work
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very hard on it. so at this point i'm going to decline to support it. but i'm certainly there and looking at these issues and i will continue to do that and continue to talk to people in the field. thank you, mr. chairman. >> mr. chairman. >> mr. rogers? >> thank you, mr. chair. thank you, mr. chair. i want to associate myself with the remarks from the gentlemen from oklahoma and my position to this amendment and yield the balance of my time to the gentleman from ohio, mr. turner. >> thank you, mr. rogers. thank you, mr. chairman, and i want to thank susan davis for her comments. we have spent a significant amount of time on this and it's one, because we're very concerned about this issue as a whole. this proposal does not fix the problem of sexual assault, it makes the issue of prosecution more difficult. since the 107th congress, this is a list of everything that we have passed as the house arms services committee that has become law, single spaced, page after page of reforms of the
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process to make sexual assault prosecution and prevention easier and more effective. we did have concerns when we looked at the issue of chain of command on bias, coercion and unprofessionalism and rights of the victim. we, for rights of the victim, gave special legal counsel as ms. davis said to the victims and then we gave the special legal counsel, representing the victims standing in court, and contrary to how it's been described, the commander does not have a decision. we -- we -- that is by themselves. again, to go over what we've done, if a commander and their lawyer agree, it goes forward. if the commander and the lawyer do not agree, then it goes to the next level for review, but there's never an instance where a commander on his own makes the decision that this is not going to be reviewed for prosecution if there's disagreement and if there is, it goes all of the way to the secretary of the service branch. what this provision would
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require is that it actually be sent to the -- to the chief prosecutors for each service which are basically three lawyers. there are 6,000 cases per year so we would have a determination on these 6,000 cases by these three service branch lawyers rather than how we're doing it now which is it includes the commander and it includes lawyers and the review of the case and whether it needs to go forward, but we have been absolutely dedicated to protecting the victims and to trying to address the issue of sexual assault. we can't use the excuse that sexual assaults are still continuing for every amendment that comes forward. we actually referred this whole issue to a bipartisan panel and they came back and told us do not do this, so at a minot at af we question everything that we have done and certainly it appears in all of the data as to
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what we've done is working and the answer is for us to give it to us that know more and not have a 30-minute debate here and change the entire prosecution system within the department of defense, but again, at this point, as ms. davis had said, what we've done is working. what is in place is what has been recommended to us and this amendment is -- not only, i think, detrimental to the overall process, but it certainly doesn't go to the heart of everything that we're trying to do and try to help victims make the process work, bring prosecutions forward and have people actually be brought to justice. i yield back. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i just want to associate myself with my colleague ms. davis and i appreciate the work of ms. spear and we partner on other things with rem in the military and as the only, i would urge my
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colleagues to not support this, as was said by many of our colleagues there have been a lot of improvements over the last years and ultimately, we need the chain of command more responsible and not less responsible and not more engaged, but less engaged and we need less neanderthals in the chain of commands at different time and aproeching cultural issues and this cultural change is not what's needed. it needs to stay as it is and i appreciate my time and i urge people to vote no. >> mr. bacon? >> i served 30 years in the air force and five-time commander and we want to respect that chain of command. we want to respect the commander. no one cares more about their units, and the morale, discipline of the units than the commander. my experience has been one of the units that i took over we worked hard to use the
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court-martial and as ms. davis there were 50/50 and hard to know what the verdict was and as the commander and we went to court-martial anyway and more often than not got a conviction and a person pled guilty. we want commanders to be the central part of this and making these decisions with commanders advising and mr. chairman, thanks again for the chance to comment. i oppose the amendment and encourage this committee to do so. >> mr. kelly? >> mr. chairman, i also will be brief. i'm one of the few people who has been a district attorney and city prosecutor, professional prosecutor and has commanded at the battalion and brigade level, and i can tell you as both being a district attorney and being inside of a grand jury and seeing what is referred and what is not referred and what gets an know dietment a indictment and what is true billed or want true billed and military commanders are uniquely qualified to decide what is best
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for the military order and discipline of their unit. the second part of that is i've seen the evolution of the jag corps and their ability and their access with and to commanders and their ability to inform them and to be a part of everything that they do. so when these commanders make decisions, they're basing it on sound, legal guidance. the same kind that i would get from the assistance district attorney. i think it's important to note that cid or professional investigators do this every step of the way. i don't think the system is broke. i think we can always get better at everything we do, mr. chairman, but i think it is critical that we not take commanders out of this process. it is detrimental to the good order of military order and discipline to take access from the commander away because this only happens at the '06 level and above with legal counsel every step of the way, and with that, i yield back, mr.
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chairman. >> the question is on and the amendment offered by the gentle lady from california ms. spear. these in favor say aye. >> aye. >> those opposed say no. >> in the chair, the noes have it and the amendment is not agreed to. further amendments to this subcommittee mark, ms. spear. >> i have an amendment at the desk. >> the clerk would distribute the amendment -- without objection, the amendment is considered as read and the gentle lady is recognized for five minutes. >> mr. chairman, thank you. generally the court-martial jury must be comprised entirely of commission officers who account for 11% of the defense department's total. charges are levied by a commander acting as the convening authority who also personally selects the member of the court-martial panel who will try the accused. the convening authority selects members who, in quote, his opinion are best qualified for the duty by reason of age,
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education, training, experience, length of service and judicial temperament, unquote. this often results in judges having a greater impact on a case by selecting jurors they know instead of a more random sample. the military should follow the civilian structure and implement a random, balanced process to select the jury pool for each trial with the caveat that members hold a higher rank. this would remove the commander's hand from the jury box and eliminate conflict and bias as well as the unlawful command influence. this should also expand the potential jurors to all senior members which judges can select from. i understand that certain personnel serve in critical roles that in those cases commanders could be provided authority to excuse individuals from the jury pool whose current tasks are crucial to the overall commission of the command and must not be interrupted by the court-martial process. this is another situation where we should attempt to align the
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military justice system with the civilian one, and i might just add here that the uniform code of military justice was created by the congress of the united states. we just want to make sure that service members have the same level of justice as a person in the civilian world and with that, mr. chairman, i would yield back. >> mr. russell, thank you mr. chairman, mr. chairman, i've had a little bit of experience with this not as an attorney, but as both a soldier and as a commander. i actually testified in a court-martial that ultimately put a lieutenant colonel in prison and stripped him of all ranks, all retirements all decorations on the uniform. i worked on tribunals as a member of a panel as well as other types of courts marshal,
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and so what i would suggest is the fact that a convening authority someone in the equivalent of three stars of rank especially in experienced cases they may go higher than that, the selection for such panels, airs in favor of justice and impartiality rather than airing in favor of some unit or chain of command. let me illustrate in one of the war crimes that i sat in on as a panel member it was an enlisted soldier. another in the same incident was an officer. for the enlisted soldier, the panel was composed of 12 which was no shock. six of them were officers all commanders and all that had extensive combat experience the enlisted soldiers, all in the rank of sergeant major which was
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the highest grade were all combat experienced and they all said in judgment, bringing those things to bear because the particular incident was dealing with a war crime. you would not get that with a random selection. you would not get something that could be so impartial it included male, female and like the military, it included people from every stripe and every color and everything else. why? because we're all americans and we all serve together. and so i disregard, mr. chairman, this notion that somehow because military-convening authorities are an authority that they are incapable. they're just not competent. we break glass and drag them out when i need to fight something or break something and they probably don't know how to write. they don't know how to speak and they can't put two and two
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together and can't put a good panel together. by the time they get to the furthest levels you would hope that they probably could do that, and i would suggest not only do they do that, they do it with great skill. many times, we have this hollywood notion of jack nicholson has gone a wrwry and e wrong and we can't get to the triet truth, but the truth is the most trust trusted institution. i happen to be the same person, and what i would tell you is we have no grave concerns about the military being able to put fair and impartial panels together for the most serious of crime.
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sometimes they convene and sometimes with this many members and that many members, six members and maybe get 12 depending on what level it may go to a major general and it may go to the three star and it may go all of the way up and maybe the secretary has an interest itself, but what you won't see is a lack of concern on the cases that are serious, and again, i go back, mr. chairman. honestly, i didn't know that i was such a knuckledragger and that i was so closed minded, that i was a rapist, a murderer and sexual assaulter and that i was these things until i came to congress and often heard from my colleagues of how horrible i was as a commander and how incapable i was in being able to have justice and make decisions and now i've learned that maybe i didn't realize who i was, what i would suggest is that, once again, we do not break the uniform code of military
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justice. it is the glue that holds our discipline and good order together and the last illustration i'll give you, mr. chairman, is as a field commander and an incident where a soldier tried to kill his nco with his own battle rifle, i had the tools as a commander to immediately send him in irons and he was sent away and he was sent to prison and all of that was handled by a chain of command and it was done with a court-martial dealing in such grave and serious issues. do not break the ucmj. i oppose the amendment. thank you, mr. chairman, i yield back. >> mr. garamendi. >> i thank the gentleman for his service. i would like to yield my time to ms. spear mp. >> thank you for yielding me your time. i, too, like, the one thing that i don't like is to have my words twisted and with all due respect to you, i have not said that you
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are a rapist or that you cannot conduct yourself in an appropriate manner as a commanding officer. what this amendment does is quite simple. it just says that when a jury is being empanelled they would be randomly selected from the universe of those who are eligible to serve on the panel not specifically hand picked by the convening authority. if we're really all about justice, we want to make sure that everyone is going to have the sense that these are those who are appropriately selected and that they're random. this would be like a judge in every jury trial, hand picking those who would serve on the jury, and i must say that we have the uniform code of military justice is not a
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perfect body of laws. we have been amending it. we amended it through the privacy act. we are and have amended it because the convening authority had extraordinary power before, where they could overturn the court-martial just because they wanted to and we changed that article 60. there are elements of the uniform code that could be fair and more equitable. this is one that would just say let's randomize it. let's not have the convening authority actually pick the panel themselves, and with that, i yield back. >> mr. turner? >> well, this is not just a quite simple provision and it's something that we have dealt with before. in fact, in last year we did take action with respect to the eligibility to sit on court-martial panels, but this is a solution looking for a problem where there's not a
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problem. we've not had anything before us as a committee that says it's a problem with the juries, but whether we saw that there might be an administrative issue, we didn't take action, but even so we didn't stop there and we looked to the joint service committee which are made up of experts of military justice. they actually researched this issue and they found no benefit. in fact, they also found it would be detrimental for a number of reasons. one, there is a standing principle in the military that no member shall sit in judgment of an accused who outranks them and there's no sense of the bias there of the individuals that they're reviewing. this would need to eliminate the firmly rooted requirement and it would up end the structure of the military. another issue is is that to go completely random, you're going to have more junior enlisted and rather than expertise you need
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for some of the proversions where the commander ms. an shding of the subject matter and can select those who are based on that. >> you also have those who perhaps have very little military experience or are understanding of the issues before them. the other thing is that in deployed environments it would get rid of the ability of the command tore take over key personnel at various times. so people could get jury service or jury selection at a time when the commander needs them. so we have no evidence or anything before us that indicates at all or each tven t auth are on of the amendment that had a jury selection process and we have what this committee has and the joint service committee that says do not do this and we have standing principles that would be affected by it. this is an amendment that should be rejected. >> mr. bacon? >> thank you, mr. chairman. i would briefly state again my experience with being in command five times, we have very
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qualified juries. they are experienced. they're often commanders in well own right, but outside of the same organizations of the victim or their perpetrator, but typically very well experienced and firstly with trust. if we take this amendment, i believe we'll actually go backwards. we'll have less experienced people. i think the confidence in the juries will go down. it will be a worse system. i yield back. >> mr. kelly? >> mr. chairman, again, just very briefly, i feel like i'm uniquely qualified. we don't have random juries in the civilian world. we're guaranteed in the constitution the right to a fair and impartial trial in front of a fair and impartial jury. in the civilian world as a district attorney when i did a trial we did a voir dire and we determined who was qualified to serve and who wasn't. who had biases and who had prejudices in which they couldn't serve fairly, who had
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information about it which they could not set aside and only rule on the evidence which was in front of them and not the evidence that they may have heard through the grapevine. i think it is imperative that we not have random juries. i think that we get the best qualified who are not biased, who are impartial. >> let me yield for a question, and in this case -- no, not right now, and i think it's important that we have commanders pick juries or that juries are selecteded from a panel who were qualified and had unique capabilities to roul a right way. i think a commander should never be allowed just like in the civilian world you cannot remove people for prejudicial reasons or for sex or those other things. you cannot do that. so if you see those things obviously, you want to take care of that commander for doing the wrong things or that panel, but you don't see that. that's not the question. the question is random versus a
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selected jury and we have a voir dire process in the civilian world and i yield now. >> i would ask the chairman, if it's appropriate, or maybe i would go through you, would the gentleman tell me if the voir dire process is available under the umji? ucmji? >> yes, it is. i'll answer it. >> thank you for asking that question, it was in my notes and i forgot to mention it. i yield to mr. turner. >> and with that, i yield back, mr. chairman. >> mr. mccompanien, are you good or would you like to be recognized? >> i would like to be recognized. >> i recognize for five minutes. >> i am not completely sure that i understand the logic behind the comparison between the military justice court and the civilian court.
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if both courts have voir dire, then both courts have the ability to weed out folks with prejudices, biases and the like. and so it is lost upon me why one court should have a specialized jury and the other court should have a randomized jury. in my experience which is admittedly all civil, some criminal, but mostly civil, you put a jury in the box. you ask them the questions that are designed to elicit prejudices. i don't understand yet military should be any different. >> would someone yield? >> the issue of voir dire is a positive why we shouldn't make the change because the defense has the ability to object. the aspect of this is to why it's different is because the structure is different. the military is custodial of its membership, and so it's not like the random public which is why you would want a random jury in
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our processes in civilian court. i mean, it is an organization, and it's an institution where it has its own judicial system within it, and that's why it's different in many respects and again, this was reviewed. this was research to determine whether or not the current system should be kept in place and the research came back and said keep it in place and it makes a difference and it enhances the jude eaicial proce. we have no information at all that contradicts that. there's a problem with justice on either side both defendants and victims. we've now given victims their own counsel that have their own standing in court. it's completely unheard of that a victim would have their own attorney and to be able to be present in court and have standing. in none of the issues that we've had have there been raised the issue of the jury itself. i yield back. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i yield back.
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>> mr. larson? >> i can be briefed. first, i just want to say i opposed amendment and make a point of principle, as i said earlier that we should not touch the ocj and it's sacrosanct and so on, but it isn't. it isn't sacrosanct. we've amended it a few times over the last 15 years and we'll do it more than a few times over the next 15 years and the debate taking place on the policy side is positive. i don't think we should get trapped by the issue of whether we should as a general rule adopt whether or not we should amend the umcj because we do, we have and we will in the future. the final point i want to make, and with exception to the gentleman's point from oklahoma, how he went from one of the most revered institution in america to one of the most despised. i want to remind him, he's not in the senate yet.
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with that, i yield back. questions on the amendment offered by the gentle lady by california. those in favor say aye. those opposed say no. the noes have it and the amendment is not agreed to. further amendments, gentle lady from california, miss davis. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> does gentle lady wish to offer? >> i am offering. >> the gentle lady has an amendment at the desk. the clerk will distribute the amendment and now the gentle lady is recognized. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> its estimated that 30,000 families and their members in the united states, the barrier to assessing snap comes from counting the basic housing alliance for housing and what we
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know as bu.a., families are turning to food pantries for emergency food assistance. for example, just in san diego, there are four different emergency food distribution programs that operate on base, this is at the marine corps camp pendelton which serves the needs of our military families stationed there, and i can tell you that just about every station in town has covered this story from time to time because it garners much publicity and the we get many calls saying why isn't congress doing something about this? our families do not have access to snap benefit because their basic allowance for housing is factored into the calculation for this benefit. in other words, into their income. and this is inconsistent with a number of other government programs and calculations. the irs, for example, lists b.a.
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as one of the tax-exempt military allowances not considered as earned income when determining eligibility for the income tax credit and the supplement supplemental nutrition program and for headstart and other programs. quite honestly, this is a really unacceptable situation, and i was looking forward to debating how we could work together to end food and security among our service members and take some possible actions today. but unfortunately, that discussion isn't going to take place because the agriculture committee has refused to waive their jurisdiction on this issue. i will reluctantly withdraw my amendment and the -- >> does the gentle lady yield? >> yeah. >> before you withdraw. >> i'm happy if you want to give us the waiver. >> the problem we've got, miss davis, is this pits a s.n.a.p.
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benefits with increased tricare costs and so linking those two together in my mind is not the right way to go. i will commit with you that when we do authorize the farm bill and actually have an opportunity to address this specific issue, i will commit to work with you on that during that timeframe, but i can't let it happen now because of the object i have for tricare and everybody that the service members can get. while i refuse to wave jurisdiction on this point, i remain committed to working with you on this issue. >> thank you very much, and i will take you at your word. we have an audience, and i look forward to working with you on this issue because quite honestly, it is very painful, and i know that it affects so many of our families, so i will withdraw, and thank you, mr. chairman, we'll be here again. thank you. >> gentle lady withdraws. further amendments and the
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gentleman from minnesota who we are glad to welcome back to the committee, temporarily and hopefully longer. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i do have an amendment at the desk and in order to not overstay my welcome, i'll be withdrawing it. >> what a good start! the clerk will distribute the amendment without objection. it is considered as read and the gentleman is recognized. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and i want to being thank the committee. this issue is one that i'm glad to be back with you and know the hard work. this is an issue that you have addressed partially in the ndaa and how we treat the reserve and guard forces. many of you know i've made that a passion over the last decade to make sure i have moved the reserve and guard forces to parity and they performed admirably many of you in the active forces. the issue at hand is how they're called up under title 10 and it's the 1204b issue and this committee has taken a big bite out of fixing this with the
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piece and i'm grateful for that, but as you all know, if you are called to duty as my hometown unit in mancato, minnesota, and over the past year and they are called up under involuntary call-up under 12304b authority which means they're prohibited from receiving the benefits if they were called up under a normal chain. it's an unequal treatment and they're not in it for the money. i know all those arguments and these are troops that would do it no matter what to defend this nation, and we have a responsibility if we're going to have an operational guard and reserve, we need to treat them the same way when they put themselves and their families out there. so i know the issue here is to pay for it. i am cognizant of that. we have fixed the tricare piece for these families and for that i say thank you, but going forward we do need to address this and get this fixed and i know all of you here want to do that. thank you, mr. chairman.
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>> the gentleman withdraws his amendment? >> further amendments? the chair recognizes the gentleman from colorado. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. chairman, i ask unanimous consent, consistent with amendments that have been worked out and approved with the minority. >> without objection it is so ordered that the clerk will distribute on block package number three, without objection, it is considered as read and the gentleman from colorado is recognized to explain the amendment. >> on package number three is comprised of the following amendment, 65 by mr. jones which sets up an advisory board for military commissions and exchanges and amendment 82 by mr. brady which is the gao to
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conduct a study which evaluates a different way each military service conducts data on the race and gender of those convicted of ucmj and amendment 102 which directs the secretary of defense to submit committees on arms services a report on dod personnel policies regarding members of the arms forces infected with hiv. amendment 149r-1 by mr. vis ito brief hasso availability on certified financial planners to service members at the onset of the new blended retirement system. amendment 191 by dr. winstruck which directs residency requirements for pediatrics. amendment 284, by mr. thornberry to create a defense public service medal to be awarded by
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the congress and amendment 287 by mr. carbajal which is a sense of congress regarding the national guard's youth challenge program. that's it, mr. chairman. mr. chairman, i yield back. >> further discussion otn the o block package? >> the gentleman from california, mr. carbajal. >> thank you, mr. chairman, according to the department of defense less than 30% of the u.s. youth qualify for military service, and either because of poor physical health and criminal record or the lack of a high school degree. each year 1.3 million kids drop out of high school severely affecting their local communities and the greater u.s. economy. the national guard youth challenge program works to fix or avoid all three of these
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issues. the youth challenge program, ycp such as the grizzly youth academy is one of the most effective youth development programs for high school-age students that have dropped out or are at risk of dropping out of school. the national guard youth challenge program provides the dod an opportunity to work with states and local governments to engage our nation's youth. the goal of the youth challenge program is to improve the life skills and employment potential of participants by providing military-based training, a high school degree. high physical fitness standards and assistance with family concerns that can result in legal troubles. i appreciate the committee working with me to include my amendment, bringing attention to this important program. mr. chairman, i yield back. >> other discussion on on block package number three. if not, the questions on the
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amendments offered by the gentleman from colorado, mr. coughman. tho those in favor say aye. those opposed say no. >> the amendments are adopted. moving on, further amendments? gentleman from florida? >> thank you, mr. chairman. i have an amendment on the desk. the clerk will distribute the amendment and the gentleman from florida is recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman, it is my intent to introduce this amendment. i would like to thank congressman bill raucous and congressman sanford bishop from the house veterans affairs committee on the concurrent receipt issue and currently there are 550,000 military retirees that are eligible to receive both military, retired pay and va disability compensation and they are prohibited from doing so under the current guidelines of the program. this means that more than half a million veterans are being taxed for having the courage and
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unwavering sacrifice to serve the country. so as we debate the necessity of enhancing our military readiness after a decade of military degradation, let us not forget the most important resource we have are the men and women in uniform. mr. chairman, i would seek unanimous consent of the veterans of foreign wars in support of the amendment. >> without objection. >> and i would yield such time as you may consume to mr. bern. >> mr. chairman? >> i thank my colleague from florida for his amendment and work on this very important issue. there are over 50,000 veterans in my district in southwest alabama and this is an issue that i hear from veterans about quite often. we need to ensure that those who serve our country receive all of the benefits they earned. we should not allow bureaucratic regulations to punish our
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veterans who have given so much to our country. mr. chairman, i understand there are budgetary issues that must be addressed and the committee can work from the gentleman from florida and the rest of us to find a solution of this issue and i yield back to the gentleman from florida. >> chairman yields back. >> the gentleman from minnesota, mr. gallego. >> mr. chairman, i would like to echo my colleagues in especially the urgent need to address this issue that are in benefits and this committee understands the profound sacrifices that our nation asks of our men and women in uniform. in return, we promised fair care and just compensation for their service as well as any service connected, and out of the benefits simply because of outdated policies prohibited receipt of unrelated benefit payments and this brings an end to a clear injustice and deserves our strong support. and we won't be able to pass it today as a marine corps veteran, we need to get the critical legislation across the finish
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line and it just makes sense. thank you, and i yield back. >> the gentleman from florida withdraws the amendment. >> next, the amendment, the gentle lady from california, miss davis. it's full disclosure and i will withdraw the amendment and this is an important issue -- >> the clerk will distribute the amendment without considers read and the gentle lady is recognized. in last year's ndaa we created a two-fee structure system for tri-care enrollment fees and we created one for future serving retirees and those electing tri-care select like a ppo and we created another for currently serving and creurrent retirees d tri-care prime. as we continue to try to limit systems, we see that it would create a two-fee structure system for the next
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approximately 50 years. until the next person comes into 2017 becomes eligible for medicare, my amendment will repeal the grandfather clause so all retirees are on the same fee schedule. it would change the index for change -- change the index to the fee schedule from a cola to the national health expenditures and it would delay any enrollment fee increase until after the gao report and the first of february 2020, to verify that the dod has beneficiary satisfaction, et cetera. active duty and their family members, chapter 61 retirees and surviving spouses still do not pay any enrollment fee. the dod supports this change. it was a legislative proposal
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and it would save 22 million in mandatory and 10 million in discretionary over ten years. the dod also estimates changing from cola to the national health expenditures -- i'm sorry. i just lost my place. that would save $61 million in fiscal year '19 and $400 million over five years. we can't just look at savings for the department because it must be fair and just for retirees and this is where the rubber kind of meets the road. in 1994, a military retiree paid a approximately 25% share of his or her health care. currently, a retiree and you might be thinking about what this percentage is, so from 25% a share in '94, a retiree today pays approximately 8%. this amendment would bring it to
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10% and it's estimated that it would bring it to $58 a month for a family and in my estimation, that's fair and it's just. this grandfather clause is further predicated on the misguided assumption that our past retirees have seen more combat than our future retireeses and thus should pay less at the cost of the future generation. i would love to believe that the world would be at peace and at this point, i think that seems aspirational. of the 1,145,634 retirees under the age of 65, 425,910 deployed in support of centcom contingency operations. our future retirees deserve equal consideration and treatment as our past retirees, and in addition to that, the savings to our country both in terms of eliminating a redundant
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system and in savings are too large to ignore. however, this is one of those issues, what we really want to bring all of the stakeholders onboard. we're not there yet, and we want to try and get there, and i certainly encourage all of you to continue to think about this issue, but for the meantime, i'm going to withdraw it. thank you, mr. chairman. >> gentle lady withdraws. >> okay. we're doing pretty well. according to my notes, we may have nine or ten more amendments and personnel and then we have strat and then we have full committee. we can do this. everybody go vote, stretch your legs and then come back for a big push to get done this evening, hopefully earlier than usual. the come they stands in recess.
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house arms services committee is working its way through the 2018 defense authorization bill today. this mark-up session and another break here so members can go to the house floor for votes. chairman mack thornberry according to cq roll call has $631 million for the base defense budget and another $65
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billion for war funds that would surpass president donald trump's initial request. the arms services committee plans on working through the evening and it may be as late as midnight. we are now hearing that they could wrap up some time between midnight and 2:00 a.m. tomorrow. more amendments and the work on the authorization bill yet to come as this mark-up session continue, live coverage here on c-span3. >> while we wait for it to resume, members who finished up their voting on the floor, we'll show you some of the mark-up session from earlier today, several debates on amendments offered to the package. >> mr. chairman, this amendment would remove funding for one lcs from the overseas contingency operations fund or oco and set the mark to fund two lcs ships total. in the original 2018 president's budget request, the navy
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requested one lcs. now a day after the president's budget was submitted the white house requested one more and to take this further, the mark added an additional lcs for a total of three. the day after the president's budget was dropped and acting secretary of the navy sean stackly defended the white house decision, and later that day it was revealed that omb now endorsed a second ship which at the time was unknown where its funding would come from. two weeks prior to the budget being released, omb director mick mulvaney said the navy doesn't happened them, end quote, referring to the lcs. the second and third shifts that the navy did not originally request are being funded from oco. the funds that were never intended to be permanent and never intended to be useded for long-term shipbuilding. moreover, the lcs program continues to face serious short comings, at a june 2017 senate arms services committee hearing,
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chairman senator john mccain stated unequivocally, one of the greatest disasters i have seen recently was the lcs, the cost overruns have doubled the cost of each lcs and development costs for their ships and modules now exceed $6 billion and keep rising. meanwhile, keep war fighting capabilities, including countermeasures and anti-submarine have fallen years. i repeat, years, behind and remain unproven, end quote, from senator mccain. therefore, this amend the would redirect the funding and establish accounts to fund munitions shortfalls that pay com and u com commanders have identified. on a recent kordell led by chairman thornbehr toe east asia, paycom commander admiral paris had pointed words to us in singapore. he remarked, and i quote, the lack of munitions and how quickly we would burn through
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our current inventory and the conflict is what keeps me up at night, end quote. both combat and commands have identified present needs from munitions replenishment that seem to me as a humble marine infantry officer more pressing and appropriate for this committee to fund than additional shifts that go beyond the navy's request and does not get us closer to the frigate replacement. when i asked secretary mat its before the meeting where congressional politics interfere with his ability to provide for our national defense. this is a prime example that comes to mind. adding these ships which according to tests literally cannot survive combat has a lot more to do with parochial congressional district politics than the needs of our sailors and our troops and make no mistake, that supporting these kinds of congressional boon
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doinge boondoggles don't support the troops and give them what they need. in are the short, we are forcing on the navy a ship they do not want, a ship they do not need and a ship they did not request. with that i yield to ms. spear from california. >> further discussion from the amendment the chair recognizes the gentleman from virginia. thank you, i oppose the amendment. first of all, we have had extensive hearings in the cpower subcommittee concerning lcs, concerning the need for the right high-low mix of ships and having the smaller service combatants and the lcs and the destroyers and the costs associated with it and the issues with this program. these ships are being built exactly as specified and the mission modules and the only one left to be put into place is the
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countermeasure module. we point out in the 2016 for structure assessment and the need for 52 small service combatants and lcs is part of that. the navy is on track to select a new variant and the frigate in the small service combatant in 2020. producing at this level allows us to bring costs down to deliver the ships that the navy needs. we can bring -- if we take out a production on one of these ships we increase costs by about 10%. also, if you were to take money from this account to take away from getting 255 ships and put that money toward paycom and u com, you will let money sit idle. in this mark, there's money there to fully fund production of munitions for both ucom and paycom at the production capacity today. so this is throwing good money to bad. you can't execute this money because there's not capacity or
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capability there to produce these munitions. this is feel-good stuff. if you want to make sure that you want to get something that is usable that can be put in the hands of sailors and we can put to sea and we can actually get things done and if you want to do that less expensively and if you want to make sure we transition properly over what we think is a very thoughtful plan for the navy to get from this ship to the next generation of small surface combatants, then funding this gets us there. >> i speak out in adamant opposition to the amendment which is money setting on the sidelines and the capability that we need today with the shifts in transition to the next generation of small service combatant. >> the gentleman, the ranking member is recognized. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i want to speak in support of mr. walton's amendment. this is a good example of what i'm talking about in my opening statement in the making choices in the size of the budget that
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we have. i enjoyed mr. turner's comment where we go back in history again and somehow imagine this is all president obama's fault, and i guess everything is president obama's fault and that's the easiest way to look at the world and the majority was passed in the house and the senate and iechl sorry, i have to bring up, the reason we did it was the republican-controlled house was refusing to raise the debt ceiling and we are literally three days away from basically failing to meet our obligations, and i did not vote for the budget control act and i would not criticize anyone who did when the choice was basically between that and basically stop paying our bills. so i tried in my opening remarks to not engage in that sort of partisan argument and i think we would all be better off if we recognize that the budget control act was the result of bipartisan failings and not try to relitigate whose fault it was. it's a problem and it was created bipartisanly and it toons to be a bipartisan
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problem. i would also say that it isn't really the only problem, and that's what i was trying to say in my opening remarks and say we get rid of the budget control act. say it's gone. we still don't just magically have trillions of dollars. we still have a $20 trillion debt. we still have a $706 billion deficit and i'm pretty sure between that side and this side it's the folks on this side over here who are most adamant about the fact that we need to balance the budget. so even getting rid of the budget control act we do not have $6, $7, $8, $900 billion to spend on defense unless we pretty much eliminate all non-defense discretionary spending which there isn't support for doing. so what i'm trying to get us to wake up to is we have to confront this larger choice, instead of just -- if we got rid of the budget control act and we can spend it all on defense and everything would be good.
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>> i know there's that we can do something about mandatory programs and although the enthusiasm about doing mandatory programs is limited as i understand it and the chairman of the budget committee proposed as part of giving us this $621 billion, a $50 billion cut in mandatory spending which the chairman of the various committees all balked at. $50 billion. $20 trillion in debt and $706 trillion deficit and trying to find $50 billion in mandatory savings and the majority can't even do that, all right? so it is a much larger problem than just saying, by, gum, we just have to get rid of the budget control act and then we'll be able to spend all of the money we want on defense, okay? we've got to look at revenue and mandatory so that we actually create a budget that has money in it so we can pay for the things that we're talking about which brings me to this, okay?
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lcs is a very controversial program. i don't support eliminating it and mr. wittman made good arguments as to why the lcs is important, and we're not getting rid of it. the president -- he put one in his budget and then after the budget was submitted, and i had a quote on this which i won't repeat, all of a sudden they said we want two and they asked where are you going to get the money and they said -- ahh, and then eventually just found it somewhere and then in our mark we put three. now, is it better to have three lcs' in the abstract? sure, but we're making choices here, and i compliment mr. molten, if this is what we do in this committee if any time we try to cut anything and i won't get into the brac discussion, and any time we try to find savings anywhere, and no, no,
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no, no, we have to have that ship, that plane, this number of troops, it doesn't add up. at some point we in this committee, and we ought to make a choice to cut something. i keep asking the question, and we heard about all of the money that was coming in and the pentagon people, where in the pentagon do you think we're spending money that we shouldn't? and yes, that is the answer that i got. well, we'd have to go back and take a look at it. we'd have to think about it and -- have to think about it? i mean, what the hell? we're way under all -- to fund all of this stuff and what,ior y are you going to find savings to get there? this is a small piece and i took his amendment and blew it up into a much larger argument and it is one of the decision that we'll have to make as a
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committee. if we want to fund readiness and take two lcss instead of three. if we can't do one tiny little thing then we'll be in a lot of trouble to fund what the chairman outlined and i urge support for the amendment and yield back. >> the gentleman from alabama, mr. burns is recognized. >> the task force report called for 52 small surface combatants and that report has not been amended by the navy. the navy clearly has stated through that report, and it needs these ships. it was before the sub committee in april and talked about how he is presently using those ships in the south china sea, where it fulfills a very important part of the mission. now why produce these at three -- at a level of three per year? we had admiral nagley before the subcommittee a couple of months ago and he said funding three
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lcs ships a year is critical to maintaining cost and schedule efficiency. those were his words and lcs is on budget and below the cost cap. both shipyards are efficiently produced in the ship. the two shipyards cannot continue without funding three ships a year. that's also the navy's conclusion. three ships not only maintains a healthy industrial base because without three ships, the skilled workforce will suffer a 10% to 40% layoff, result in an extended production timelines and unit cost increases of 10% to 15% which comes out to be $50 to $70 million annually. the labor force is not a spigot. when you turn it off, you can't turn it back on again and people go to other jobs and go to other places and it's a skilled workforce that has been in both shipyards will remain to provide
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small surface combatants on time and under cost caps and benefiting the taxpayers and the navy that has told us it needs it. three ships also insures the proper supplier base continues to provide new and repair parts in an economic order of quantities maintaining low cost for taxpayers, as well. the navy cannot get to a 350 or 355-ship requirement and we've had repeated testimony to that effect. it fills a gap in the navy's capabilities. lcs serves as the low-cost capability in the distributed locality and lcs removes needed for high emissions. with regard for munitions. most munition programs have seen funding in the bill and in the president's request. production lines are near capacity and more money and won't actually make more
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munitions. our mark also has 26 million for the mark 48 torpedos and 9 million for the sidewinder missiles. so we're already doing a lot there. i for the torpedos. i appreciate the gentleman's comments. i have invited him to come to san diego and actually ride on the ship and talk to the commanding officer and the other officers and the sailers on the ship, and he'll learn far more than he's learned by reading reports. the gentleman is engaged. i know that when he has his wedding, he's going to want to go on a great honeymoon. i can't think of a better honeymoon than the ship in san diego. so i renew my invitation to the gentleman from massachusetts. i know this will be a great time for him and his wife to do this and you will learn something in the consequence. and i kweeyield back. >> thank you, mr. chairman.
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to my colleague from massachusetts. do not take that advice. you will be divorced by the end of the week. i'm going to associate myself with the ranking member and with mr. molton. this is a disaster of a ship. and i don't know what it's going to take for us to finally recognize that sometimes we have to say no to things that just don't work. in february 2011, the "uss freedom" sprung a six-inch crack in its hull that required several months worth of repairs. in june 2011, severe corrosion sidelined the "uss independence" in december 2012, the defense department's director released a report saying the lcs is not expected to be survivable in a hostile combat environment. that's why we've changed the
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name so it is not a combat ship. the "uss freedom" was immobilized during a trial run. also in july 2013, the gao urged congress to restrict the purchase of new lcs until the navy completed technical and design studies and figured out how much it will cost to fix the vessel's problems. these were good suggestions that were ignored. the secretary of defense directed the navy to study ways to improve the program. however, the navy doubled down on its failed strategy and prioritized cost and schedule considerations over mission requirements. in december 2015, the "uss milwaukee" broke down and had to be towed 40 miles after a software malfunction. he was directed to cut the program, which would save billions of dollars. once again, my colleagues resists these efforts. the "uss fort worth" was pseu
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sidelines. in june 2016, gao recommended congress not fund any lcs for 2017. so what did we do? in a strained military budget, did we heed the gao? no, we didn't. they authorized not one, not two, but three new ships, adding $1.5 billion to the budget. but there is more. in july 2016, the "uss freedom" yet again encounters more mechanical issues. how bad is it? this time its engine will need to be rebuilt or replaced. most recently in august 2016, the "uss koruna doe" broke down because of an engineering problem. every one of these has suffered from horrendous maintenance problems with the exception i
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believe of two. why don't we go back to the drawing board and build a ship that will work, that won't sink, that won't lose its power and have to be towed in. it's really a disgrace. and to say it's low cost is absolutely a canard. these maintenance problems cost us tens of millions of dollars, hundreds of millions of dollars. meanwhile, we can't pay the widows of our military service members what they deserve from their life insurance policies. but we can keep building $500 million ships that sink. i yield back. >> gentleman from wisconsin is recognized. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i think it is a healthy debate. it is no secret that the lcs requirements have changed over the years. the global environment has changed as well. since the navy started thinking about a new service combatant
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dating back to the 1990s, i look forward to continuing work with all members of the committee, my colleague from mass chachusettso i respect to make sure we transition and shore up any survivable requirements that the navy wants us to address. but let us all recognize that what the omb director says in an off-hand comment on the radio station at 6:30 a.m. does not represent the view of the u.s. navy. let us look at what the navy has actually said and what it is written. and the claim laid on the table that the navy doesn't want the ship is patently false. as the deputy secretary of defense who authorized the account of the program included, it is getting the ship it asked for and a better ship than expected. we spent months asking the navy this very question in the subcommittee. the program executive officer told chairman whit man and myself and everyone else that
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the navy needs three ships per year and they need it to keep the production line hot. let's also recognize the administration was forced to defend a top line number of 603 that was sent to them without doing a strategic e vaguation. the lcs program is of critical importance to our navy. the designs are stable. facilities are in place with a right size quality workforce and both shipyards are in full production in order to ensure each can deliver two ships per year. today the program is on budget and below congressional cost cap. gao was invoked. if you read the report, which is not a friendly one to the lcs in many respects, they conclude that costs simply isn't the issue. strategically what are we talking about with this ship? why do the war fighters keep asking for it?
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it can simply go places where bigger ships can't. rear admiral, the commander of logistics groups western pacific put it, combat ships can go places and do things that no other american ships can with flexible large payloads that allow easy integration with regional navys, there are over 50,000 islands, larger ships can only visit 50 ports across its entire territory. the lcs can dock in over 1,000 ports. later that night in a meeting with chairman thornberry, myself and other members of this delegation. you weren't present. you had to leave from no fault of your own. told us that the lcs is playing an increasing role in the pacific and they want more of them. you don't want a fleet comprised entirely of lcs of course. but if the navy doesn't want the ship, then why are they expanding missions in singapore to deploy two ships
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simultaneously, along with one in bakaran in 2018? if the ship doesn't work, why are allies asking for more? a lot of our friends and partners in the region have small navys. they want to learn from us, from somebody and rather from us than other potential partners. their navys are small and when a cruiser comes in there it can overwhelm them. so the lcs is the right platform to do that. it is also the right platform to train in swallow depth. i appreciate my college's concern about munitions short fall. i believe the chairman's mark already takes important steps to address these rights. over $1.5 billion above and beyond the president's request under chairman thornberry's leadership, they have emphasised america's commitments.
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we also strengthen our position by transitioning the european to the base budget, which i strongly applaud. so i think we actually are doing things to shore up our munition shortfall. so i understand this is a contentious issue. i have tried my best as a new member of this committee to listen to both sides, but i have tried to listen to the navy. and if you look at what the navy said, the fourth fleet wants the ship, the fifth fleet wants the ship, the sixth fleet wants the ship, the seventh fleet wants the ship. i yield, mr. chairman. >> thank you, mr. chairman. it is with enormous respect and admiration for the chairman of the committee and the other members of the committee, but this ship really doesn't sail. this ship is only principal purpose it seems at the present
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time is to show the flag. and to get us closer to 355. it's a half a billion dollars. over $500 million for each ship. we can surely spend that money better elsewhere. it's nice to have a ship out there in the ocean. nice to have it in the south china sea or in singapore or wherever else until it has to be used. but if it ever has to be used in a contested environment, without a doubt, it isn't going to survive. and, so, therefore, it is kind of like, you know, showing the flag and nothing more. we really do need to transition to the frig it, with some way can only be built if we continue to build a ship that doesn't work well, the lcs. so we ought to say enough is enough. don't build another one. use the money elsewhere. advance the design, which is going to have to be a
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significant design over the lcs design so that it actually can survive in a contested environment and get on with it. but the industrial base is always a great argument to use and, by the way, if we don't want to build munitions, maybe we ought to build an ice breaker so that we could actually do something in the arctic ocean. i know. i see my here saying you are back to your ice breaker. why don't we swap two lcss for one heavy ice breaker so we could have the u.s. navy in the arctic, which we cannot now do. munitions, we do not have enough munitions. somebody says the industrial base can't supply more knew in additions, which probably tells us that base needs to be augmented. so i support mr. molten's amendment, and i'm going to --
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mrs. spear, do you want more time? >> no. >> i yield back. >> gentleman from texas. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i also support the gentleman from mass shoe sets amendment. we are come barded by information about unfunded needs, capabilities that we need to have that we don't have today. and the projected costs that were not on a trajectory to meet. i heard the chairman talk about the urgency of these unfunded needs and here we have a colleague asking us to make one of these tough decisions. he is saying only one of these combat ships at a cost of $556 million, that those resources could be put to one of those unfunded urgent needs that we have right now. and while we have these open questions and concerns about the viability and safety and seaworthiness of this program, i think this is a very rational
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suggestion from one of our colleagues. so i support and urge my colleagues to join me in doing so and i yield the balance of my time to the gentleman from mass chew sets. >> i want to address the munitions issue. whether we need to fix that capacity, that's the job that congress is here to do, to get our sailers, marines, soldiers and airmen the munitions that they actually need. i am grateful, furthermore to the gentleman from alabama for his invitation. as you might imagine, we are currently planning a wedding. now my lovely fiance has said she would like a 200 person wedding. that sounds like a lot to me, but by your logic, we should triple that to 600 because undotedly we would be able to achieve cost efficiencies as the
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person cost would drop. i would welcome the gentleman from alabama to take that proposal to my fiance. finally, mr. whit man said repeatedly that the navy needs this ship. my colleague from wisconsin cited various fleets that would like this ship. my colleague from wisconsin and i are both marines. that's like asking a marine if he would like more chow. of course he would like more chow. but the bottom line is that when the navy made their budget request, they did not request it. mr. chairman, if the navy needed this ship, they would have requested it just as the pay come commander has requested the additional munitions that my amendment would provide. i yield back.
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>> gentleman from arizona. no? any further discussion on the amendment? i'd yield to myself just briefly. i think everybody acknowledges we need more ships. as i mentioned at the beginning, one of the major differences between the president's request and the mark before us is to add more ships. i am convinced that a high/low mix of different kinds of ships makes sense. i am also convinced the navy is moving from the lcs towards the frigget. they believe they can do that smoother and better by continuing the lcs line, and it is a matter of economics if we're going to buy a certain number if you can buy three,
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avoid the ups and downs of the industrial production costs, then having more of a stable basis for costs, you can ultimately save the taxpayers more money. i think the bottom line is we have cut too much, and this, you know, while the lcs doesn't do everything, it is also a third of the cost of a destroyer. it can do some stuff, some stuff that we need doing, and so i am opposed to the amendment. questions on the amendment. those in favor? >> i request a recorded vote. >> wait. i haven't got there yet. >> those in favor of the amendment offered by the gentleman from mass shoou chew sets will say i. those opposed will say no. the noes have it and the gentleman from massachusetts is recognized. >> i request a recorded vote. >> is there support for a recorded vote? there is. this vote will be postponed as i previously announced t


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