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tv   Defense Authorization Markup  CSPAN  April 27, 2016 12:00pm-2:01pm EDT

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and in consultation with the ranking member, we'll postpone recorded votes in this particular subcommittee mark until the end of the subcommittee mark. chair recognized the chairman of the subcommittee from virginia for any comments he would like to make. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i want to thank you for your leadership on this committee and for highlighting as we navigate the fiscal security. i'm pleased to present the mark drafted in a bipartisan manner that directly addresses these critical readiness concerns. i'd also like to again thank our ranking member for her tireless efforts and participation in this process. once again, i'd like to thank each of the members of the subcommittee for their attendance and participation at the hearings and briefings throughout the year. finally, i'd like to thank the readiness subcommittee staff for their great work on this bill
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and their efforts in crafting this legislation. they have traveled across the globe from afghanistan to africa, the asia pacific to observe the real impacts of sequestration and to study the readiness levels of our forces. i thank you for your opening remarks expressing the severe challenges we have in this nation's readiness and that that must be at the top of our list of priorities as we address this. we have also heard testimony from each of our service branches about the necessity to address our nation's military readiness shortfalls. what we have heard was sobering to say the least. we have continued to kick the can down the road as we failed to maintenance and readiness issues. we have to confront these issues now. here today we have the responsibility of reducing the risk for our war fighters by making sure that they are well trained and supported and that the equipment they use is
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properly main u taned and combat ready. i believe that the work done in this subcommittee has resulted in a mark that will bring us closer to achieving that full spectrum readiness level. that's an absolute must if they are to combat the threats to our national security from around the world. the mark before you incorporates provisions and direct report language that i believe makes significant headway in resolving our most critical concerns and shortfalls. specifically, this mark prohibits from implementing another round in the absence of an accurate in strength assessment. it also provides for increased military construction and streamlined the d.o.d.'s hiring process so critical man power can be filled. it directs several assess the
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and modernize training requirements. we have recommended the chairman include more than $5 billion in additional funds for, among other things, shipment aircraft maintenance, aviation training and readiness, and long neglected facility sustainment, restoration and modernization accounts. these recommendations don't fully alleviate my concerns about our readiness shortfalls. here in washington, we need to make sure that we fully understand what's at stake and how the choice wes make affect those who serve and sacrifice on our behalf. we have to make sure we properly man, train and equip our forces so they can meet the challenges on the horizon with the confidence and superiority we have come to expect. our men and women in uniform
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should be the focus of our discussion today. with that, i yield back. >> chair would not recognize the distinguished ranging member of the subcommittee, gentle lady from guam. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. and again, i would like to thank all of the staff who spent countless hours working with us to develop this bill. i would like u to especially thank the chairman and his staff for working together on the readiness portion of the bill and also you, mr. chairman and ranking member smith. we have heard the service secretaries and the chiefs testify that readiness is at a critical junctiure and it addresses some of these crucial needs. we seek to improve training proficiency, facility susta sustainment, restoration and
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modernizati modernization. as part of our oversight responsibility, our mark requires reports on readiness challenges for the services including the sustainment of major weapons systems and our mark provides funding to support military installation in inf infrastructure activities. we did include provisions to clarify the use of maintenance funding and streamline the process for host nation construction while ensuring that congress continues to maintain effective oversight of these projects. this continues to build upon the progress we have made. we provide funding and address critical mitigations to ensure this important initiative remains on track and appropriately resourced. to an extent, the broader mark
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supports emerging and ongoing national security concerns in both europe and the middle east. however, we can also not afford to backslide on commitments to our partners in the region. we must support partner capacity development, and i u am pleased that the bill, again, authorizes funding for the maritime security initiate i have to support the critical defense needs of our allies and our partners in southeast asia. i am disapointed that congress continues to skirt responsibility in addressing overarching fiscal questions and finding a sustainable path forward to ensure our national security interests at home and abroad are protected. though we have given the department some breathing room through next year, the unpredictable environment hampers future year planning. in hearing after hearing,
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military and civilian leaders alike testified that this lack of predictability has a true detrimental impact on appropriately resourcing our military. i'm concerned that the short sided budget gimmick of shifting funding to base requirements may leave our troops short of funding required in the near future. it's quite the gamble given that we have no commitment future actions will be taken. and we still do not deal with the problem that faces this committee and congress. we cannot kick the can down the road when it comes to our war fighters' needs. overall, this bill is a critical vehicle for providing our men and women in uniform and their families with the tools and the support they need to accomplish their missions. i have concerns about certain elements. i thank you, mr. chairman, and all my colleagues for your work
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on this important bill. i look forward to continuing the discussion as the process evolves. mr. chairman, i yield back. >> i thank the gentle lady. i yield myself briefly. i agree with virtually everything that the ranking member and the chairman have said on the importance of readiness. the only point i want to make here is that some people may call it a gimmick, but this is exactly what the democratic majority in congress did in 2008 to provide a transition for the next administration. a supplemental that lasted several months into the new year giving the new administration to evaluate the needs, evaluate the funding and make a supplemental request. if the new administration makes a supplemental request, it's not constrained by the budget
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control act. supplementals are outside that. i agree with the comments that have been made. we need to fix the budget control act, but none of that prevents us from funding the folk who is are in the field. what is of crucial importance to me is to make sure that they are prepared and fully supported for whatever we ask them to do. that's readiness and that's why this is such a crucial issue. is there other discussion of this portion of the mark? if not, we will turn to amendments for the readiness portion of the mark. gentleman from oklahoma have an amendment? >> i do have an amendment at the desk. >> if the staff would please distribute the amendment. >> actually, mr. chairman, i
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would like to delay on this amendment, if i may. >> i'm sorry? >> i would like to pull this amendment. >> the gentleman chooses not to offer. >> gentleman from louisiana? >> thank you, mr. chairman. i have an amendment at the desk. >> would the gentleman like to offer it? >> yes, i would. >> if the staff would distribute dr. fleming's amendment.
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without objection, the amendment is considered as read. >> thank you, mr. chairman. my amendment prevents defense dollars from being wasted to fund two executive orders regarding climate change and green energy. a similar amendment has already been adopted by voice vote for the past two years during house floor contribution of the fy '15 and '16 defense appropriation bills. these executive orders require the department of defense to squander precious defense dollars by incorporating a host of climate change bureaucracies into acquisition programs. logist logistics planning and mail mil tear plans and operations and to spend money on wasteful green energy projects. the military is even required to
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help state and local governments to, quote, go green. and to change its land and water use policies to support such efforts. these activities are simply not the mission of the u.s. military. the military's mission is to train for and fight our nation's wars, not assist state and local governments with their carbon emission levels. for the past two years, this committee has undertaken acquisition reform to eliminate paperwork and cut through the bur rack ri is a that inhaibits the ability at a reasonable cost. it's slow and burdensome enough. these nondefense mandates only undermine reform efforts regarding d.o.d. ease energy policy decisions by commanders and d.o.d. personnel need to be driven by requirements for actual cost effectiveness and
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readiness, not arbitrary u and inflexible quotas and co2 benchmarks. to add to the problem, engineers, man hours and resources committed to green energy are diverting focus from deficiencies in our military's krit call infrastructure. our military is in a readiness crisis. army chief of staff less than one-third of army forces are at acceptable levels. these mandates are diverting limited military resources to climate change, not readiness. modernization or in strength. the pentagon expects a purchase -- expects to purchase 1500 chevy volts at a price of $40,000 each. each one of these $40,000 chevy volts represents the choice not
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to provide an infratry platoon with new rifles or 50,000 rounds of ammunition that cannot be used for realistic training. as of 2013 the defense department had at least 680 such green energy projects including 357 solar, 29 wind and 289 thermal energy projects. according to the inspector general's office, one solar panel project by the navy cost $21 million to install will save enough money to pay for itself in just 447 years. solar panels, however, only last 25 years. because of these mandates in alaska, the pentagon converted three radar stations from diesel fuel to wind turbine energy. the air force claimed it would take 15 years to pay for itself, but auditors found that the generators produce only sporadic, unusable power and the
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inspector general charged that the air force claim was completely unsubstantiated. in a time of declining defense budgets, we need to ensure every dollar spent goes directly to support the lethality of our armed forces. providing for the security of the american people is the highest responsibility of the federal government and we in congress need to ensure that this is, in fact, what the department of defense is focused on. thank you, and i yield back. >> gentleman from arizona. >> thank you, mr. chair. i would like to speak in opposition. as a southwesterner with several military installations, military insta ligss have a big economic impact. water in arizona is very sacred and valuable to us. when we have military
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installations, we need them to plan with our localities to make sure that the water usage is not going to affect the outer growth around these bases or in terms of sometimes contamination that the planning that however, the sewage system is going to be used and put into the system and shared with the localities is appropriately glorified or whatever the standards are. these things are important for bases where they are found in urban areas, but especially bases that are found in areas that have issues of natural resources. when you look at the scope of when it comes to energy, a lot of these bases are buying energy off the grid. if anything, we would want these bases to be at the same time
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when we talk about relationships these types of programs do make u a difference. that the installation is taking more than deserved or being punished for having these important installation us. lastly, just my general point of view in terms of these types of investments in green energy. any investment in green energy in the department of defense goes a long way because of the amount of security that we have to spend especially when we're in combat just to get one gallon of either oil, gas or some type of carbon energy to the front lines creates a lot of vulnerable situations for our transportation. anybody that's done motor ops
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can tell you this. so the more investment that we have now in terms of green energy and diversified energy will end up saving lives in the future because less time we expose man power to security situations like that it should be a goal in general. they like to be able to have more sources of energy that are not dependent on a a convoy of security. i strongly urge members of this committee to oppose this amendment. >> ranking member? >> i just want to reiterate the point about how important this is in terms of providing energy on the battlefield and when we are forward deployed. how difficult it is to get diesel and other fuels forward. it has saved lives. it's something programs in
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afghanistan made a huge difference in reducing the number of convoys that needed to bring in fuel. and what the department of defense is doing is trying to be a leader in developing alternatives to fossil fuels. ultimately, that's the debate. if it was just a matter of what's cheapest, what's most abundant, coal, oil, they would win. but unfortunately, there's a great deal of science that shows that fossil fuels up from below the ground and burning them is frying the planet. and is ultimately not sustainable. we need to get to alternatives. we're very smart people. we develop new technologies all the time. wind and solar are great examples. ten years ago, they were vastly more expensive than they are now. and we can continue to do that. we continued to that with biodiesel. so if you don't believe in
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climate change. if you don't believe that fossil fuels are bad for the environment, i can understand supporting amendments like this. but digging fossil fuels up and burning them is bad for life. just spend a couple days in beijing and you'll see the point. people now are literally refusing to work for companies in china because they are the afraid the act of walking outside will kill them. this isn't going to be easy. we have 175 years of infrastructure built in support of oil and coal and natural gas. it's easiest, it's cheapest, but it is also slow ly but surely destroying the planet and making it much more difficult to live in. that is a national security threat as well. so if the department of defense can nudge us forward in that direction and in similar ways
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that the department of defense has led on the development of many types of technologies. the internet, for instance, something that wasn't particularly cost effective when they started spending money on it but paid huge dividends down the road. this will make a difference towards getting us off fossil fuels and saving the planet. i realize people don't believe that, but the overwhelming bulk of scientists disagree and think this is a significant problem and one we ought to be working on. this amendment takes a step back from doing that and i oppose it. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i want to support the amendment to exempt the department of defense from these two executive orders. my friend u.s. senator tom coburn saw this in 2012 when his investigation showed that the d.o.d. starleted more renewable energy programs than every other
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federal agency. it's only gotten worse. the first order forces dod to support state and local to achieve the green energy goals. further more, it compels the department to make changes to land and water use policies and wastes the time of seen lor leaders headed by the climate change. it also makes the dod submit climate plans so that appointed political hacks can tell generals and admirals how to run the military. they ought to have the authority to run the military. the second is even worse. it mandates arbitrary and clean energy mandates and reduction goals with zero regard for change threats, budgets and technologi technologies. there are mandates on
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construction, mandates on space usage, water usage, solid waste diversion, even on copier paper usage. even at this committee, even as this committee is trying to lessen the burden on the acquisition system, this executive order mandates new intrusion into the acquisition process. friends, it is this kind of meddling which gets the navy to buy a solar array, which will pay for itself 447 years from today. $170 million for algae based biofuels at ten times the cost of conventional fuel. ten times the cost. the list of green energy boondoggles is endless and driven by the need to comply with these orders. i'm not opposed to increased usage of wind, solar or other renewables. i don't think anybody on this committee is opposed to that. i'm not opposed to more energy
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efficient buildings. neither is anybody on this committee. congress and this administration should empower the military to do those things. but only where it is cost effective and contributes to readiness. if it doesn't make our military more ready and more lethal, than we should not do it. these executive orders create proverse incentives for the pentagon to waste money and diverse scarce resources. let's exempt the dod from these onerous mandates and let our military leaders make rational decisions about what to buy and how to buy it. i support my friend from louisiana and i urge my colleagues to support this amendment. i yield back. >> gentleman from california. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i want to just respond. i oppose this o amendment. it was early in this hearing that my colleague said something to the effect that energy security is american security. i couldn't agree with him more.
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even with respect to natural gas. but i dispute the idea that it's the bureaucrats that are driving this policy. when i was first a member of this committee, i was visited by those who wanted to meet the members of the committee. brought generals with him and there sat the marine brass saying they wanted to talk to me about solar energy. the reason they wanted to talk is not because they were tree huggers. the most dangerous thing we do is move large amounts of petroleum. we lose soldiers and marines. as a consequence of that, we spend a lot of effort and percesonnel and money protectin those convoys. he's learned to power his bunkers with solar panels. he's learned to put solar panels on backpacks that power small appliances, which weigh less than the batteries the troupes used to have to carry. and it's the same with the navy.
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the navy was tired of price spikes in world oil prices, which we'll see again. and every time the price spiked in oil, they had to reorient their entire u mission. the reason they bought 210 megawatts of solar energy to power half the marine and naval bases on the west coast wasn't because they were trying to do a good thing. they were trying to meet the business case for solar energy that would protect them from these price speck. that's why they are pursuing advanced biofuels. they are trying to maximize resiliency to shelter us as a fighting force from these price spikes and dependence for supply on people we would not want to
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depend on. often we consider adversaries. so i think there's every reason to pursue the wise leadership of the marines and in terms of energy innovation, energy security is american security. and this is part of it. this kind of innovation is critical to the war fighter. it's a bad idea. i urge my colleagues to do the same and yield back. >> mr. kaufman? >> thank you. our opposition because i believe it goes too far. there are applications as was mentioned any time you can reduce the logistical requirements of supporting forward units through renewable applications is great, but it goes too far.
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an example would be aviation fuel, biofuels in aviation, it doesn't change the logistical requirements of supporting those aircraft and it's not anymore friendly than fossil fuels. with that, i'd like to yield the balance of my time to the gentleman from louisiana. >> i thank the gentleman. there's nothing in my amendment and certainly no one i know of that opposes when there's a better choice, an alternative in any type of engagement or exercise to use some other type of fuel. geothermal, solar, there's nothing in here that prevents that. what this address is arbitrary goes that creates a situation where we are literally
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exchanging bullets for more expensive technologies that are not mature in many cases that cost far more than what we have in place and also at a time when our readiness can least withstand the loss of dollars for arbitrary goals and bur accuracies that dictate to commanders how to operate their forces makes no sense whatsoever. so again, there's nothing in here that prevent commanders from making good choices to do what's best for their forces and for readiness up to and including solar, wind or any other type of alternative fuel. i yield back. >> other discussion on this amendment? if not it's on the amendment offered. those in favor say aye.
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those oppose say no. the ayes have it. the gentleman from washington asked for a role call vote pursuant to the previous announcement we'll postpone until the end section of this subcommittee mark. >> i have an amendment at the desk. >> the staff will distribute the amendment.
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the amendment is considered as read and the gentleman is recognize d for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. this effort is not new, but it's still important to the committee that the department of defense. this proposal would allow the department to maintain a reliable workforce within their positions but modify sections of the code to ensure this type of employee is a civilian employee unless substantial cost savings can be demonstrated by using outside contractors. this it would still allow the dod to maintain civilian workforce at a reasonable cost but provides the high quality service that's needed. it allows us to maintain the high security standards that must be mandatory to our facilities particularly when hosting information that put in the wrong hands could endanger the men and women. i urge you to support this effort and use existing dollars to support our valued civilian employees. the issue is not at the discretion of the committee.
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therefore, i would withdraw the amendment and braesht your consideration of this topic. i yield back. >> gentleman withdraws the amendment. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i ask unanimous consent consisting of amendments that have been approved with the minority. >> without objection, so ordered. if the staff would please pass out the on block package. without objection, the amendments are considered as read. the gentleman from virginia is recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. on block package one is compri e
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comprised of the following. to require a briefing on film forming presence on military installations. amendment 8009 concerning defense laboratory modernization. amendment 021 by ms. gram modifies the authority for a project at mcdill air force base. amendment 022 regarding disposal of agriculture-related equipment. 0261 r 1 regarding the travel system. modified section 1101 to include arsenals in the industrial base of the united states and amendment number 22 r 2 of the energy independence and security
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act of 2007. amendment 237 by mr. russell clarifies the eligibility of employees of a land management agency. and amendment number 266 by mr. waltz regarding national guard flyovers. i yield back. >> other discussion on the package? the amendment offered by the gentleman from virginia. those in favor say aye. those opposed say no. the ayes have it. the amendment is adopted.
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without objection, the amendment is considered as read. >> thank you, mr. chairman. this is another readiness issue. i've not heard anybody during the previous arguments refute the comments made by the chairman of the full committee and subcommittee and ranking member of the subcommittee with respect to the dire straits we find ourselves in. this amendment would restrict the department of defense from building new or constructing new, refurbishing our plants that produce alternative fuels unless the secretary of defense can justify to himself that that is a better use of readiness dollars than where they might
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otherwise go. my colleagues saw the recent news report documenting the marine corps sending a maintenance team to the intrepid museum to harvest a part to take it back to their base and put it on a plane they really actually want to fly. that's pretty embarrassing. all the statistics are there. so this would say there's a better use for readiness dollars, better use for keeping our guys in the fight than perhaps these efforts at biofuels or alalternatives. it's a win for both sides if the group that's in favor of these biofuels can make that business case that this is better than parts for f-18. this is better than bullets. this is better than all the other things going to those accounts and the lack of readiness and the secretary can make that case and certify back to us that these programs could go forward. so pretty straight forward deal that requires the secretary to
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tell us in a statement that, in fact, these biofuel construction costs are more important to the system than the readiness costs and modernization of our forces. i yield back. >> gentleman yields back. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i oppose this amendment which would tie the hands of the department of defense. we should not be limiting the fuel options for our military, particularly in the face of new and dynamic threats to national security. biofuels a biofuels and other technologies are providing an alternative to petroleum-based fuels. the price of oil is volatile. it can undermine our ability to budget effectively for the military providing troops with the tools needed to succeed in their mission. instead of standing by and waiting for a fuel crisis, the department of defense has been working with private sector innovators to develop fuels to be used by planes and ships.
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military is not pursuing diversity because they are tree hugging, but it's a national security imperative. biofuel refineries will make our military better prepared to face enemies because we aren't bound to a single source of fuel. the secretary of the navy stated, quote, energy and fuel can and are being use ued as weapons. it's critical we continue to use alternative fuels in our ships and aircraft to ensure operational flexibility. diversifying our energy supply for our ships, aircraft and our bases helps gauarantees our presence and ability to respond to any crisis. increasing our energy efficiency ensures that we remain on station longer or extend our range without the delays and vulnerability of refueling, end quote. in january i joined secretary may bis for the launch of the great green fleet. i saw united states navy destroyer push off for a
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seven-month voyage in the asian pacific powered in part by beef fat. with the exception of the nuclear aircraft carrier, the strike group including aircraft is fuelled by a cost competitive biofuel blend. this first of its kind naval force is projecting power around the world while being powered in part by american innovation. it's a testament to the potential effective a partnerships for supporting our military and marked an achievement in reducing the military's reliance on foreign sources of fuel. this committee should not make our military obsolete by standing in the way of innovation that will better serve our mission and support our war fighters. as the former chairman of the joint chiefs of staff said in 2011, quote, without improving our energy security, we are not merely standing still as a military or as a nation. we are fall iing behind. to enhance our energy security we must look beyond vulnerabilities and instead focus on and view energy as an
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opportunity, end quote. i strongly oppose this amendment. it moves it backwards and i encourage my colleagues to join me in opposition. >> gentleman yields back. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i'd like to yield to the gentleman from texas. >> just a couple points. this same thing would provide through the conference. but i would like to refute my colleague's statement that this ties anybody's hands. what this says is the secretary of defense in his wisdom with all of the information he has available to him with respect to all the things going on chooses to spend money this way and in m modernization and readiness. that's a decision he needs to make. so the amendment would put it on him. tooz why this facility is more than all the other readiness
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issues that we face. home to a point where they can defeat the enemy and protect themselves. and the success tear believes it in his heart that he signs the waiver and off it goes. my colleagues. >> other discussion on this amendment? for both of these amendments, it seems we ought to do what makes sense. and one of the things that has changed in recent years thanks to american enju knewty we don't
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have to worry about foreign sources of fuel. we're starting to export oil and gas. so as has been talked about, there are certainly times where research and a variety of things make sense, but we should not spend precious dollars that don't make sense. >> some cases of natural gas and oil. and there was a point made earlier that the department of defense has to do this more than anybody else. nobody consumes more fuel than the department of defense, unsurprisingly, given the size of their budget and what they do. nobody rose to debate earlier and that's good because we want
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to get done before 6:00 in the morning. but we have plenty of coal. we have plenty of oil. we have plenty of natural gas. it's just unfortunately destroying the planet that we would all like to be able -- well, most of us in this room will probably survive it. but if we care about future generations and the health of the planet, we should invest a little money in trying to find alternatives that are not, in fact, destroying the planet. as i said, the department of defense has a long history of making investments in things that in the short-term cost more money than alternatives. they are looking for a solution to a longer term problem. they do it quite well. and this will have an effect on the department of defense. if in fact oil and coal and natural gas and follow fossil fuels because untenable as the largest consumer of fuel, alternatives will be desperately
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necessary for our national skurlt and the department of defense. so investing a little money now to try to be prepared for the future does make sense. even if right now today you could buy it schacheaper if you bought the oil and natural gas. but long-term that is destroying the planet. so investing a little bit of money in the short-term to try to come up with an alternative has very strong national security implications and one wes shouldn't ignore. the climate change debate is very controversial. but if it's something we care about, then amendments like this set us back and stop the department of defense from better preparing us for that future that i described. so that's why this makes sense. >> the questions on the
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amendment offered by the gentleman from texas, those in favor u of the amendment say aye. those opposed say no. the ayes have it. the gentleman asked for a recorded vote, which will be postponed. further amendments, this gentleman from massachusetts have an amendment he wishes to offer at this time. >> i would like to offer aemtd and then withdraw it. >> if the staff would please distribute the amendment.
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>> the gentleman is recognized for five minutes. >> i would like to offer and withdraw an amendment aimed at ensuring that hazardous shipments are transported by safe carriers. every year the department of defense is responsible for nearly 60,000 shipments of sensitive and hazardous material. trucks carrying shipments of sensitive cargo such as missiles, ammunition, explosives, and other classified items travel millions of miles on interstates, highways across all 50 states. transporting these dangerous militaries is a risky undertaking. one example of this risk is a catastrophic accident that happened in oklahoma involving a tractor semi trailer carrying ten general purpose bombs colliding with an automobile on interstate 40.
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total damages estimated at $5 million. 49 persons reported to a hospital emergency room for treatment of injuries. it is essential that all safety precautions are taken when an accident can hold such dire k s consequences. the government accountability office concluded a study that recommended that dod in. crease safety by contracting with shipping companies that meet data sufficiency standards and have safety measurement scores greater than the 50th percentile of peer companies. i recognize that that seems like a low bar, yet higher than what the department of defense uses today. this amendment would require that motor carriers not be required under the protective service program if the carrier does not meet these minimum safety standards as recommended by the goa. in the interest of public safety, i urge further discussion and would like to work with the chairman to review the aims and share jurisdiction with the infrastructure committee. i would like to thank the
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co-sponsors of this amendment and with that, mr. chairman, i thank you. i withdraw and yield back. >> the gentleman withdraws the amendment. >> further amendments on this bill? gentleman from alabama. >> i have an amendment at the desk. >> the staff would please distribute the amendment. >> this amendment is -- >> if the gentleman would hold on just a second.
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gentleman is recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. this is an issue we're revisiting from last year. we passed this amendment last year. unfortunately, it was removed and replaced with may and now we're having to revisit it again this year. what it is is this. we have approximately 100,000 surplus pistols that the army stopped using around early 1990s. we have been -- as you know, we can't destroy these surplus pistols urnnder the law. we have been pay iing over $200,000 a year to store them for that period of time. we now have an entity called the civilian marksmanship program
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that we regularly turn over surplus weaponry to from previous wars that they refurbish and sell to collectors.100,000 1911 pistols passed last year, said we should start turning them over to refurbish and sell to collectors. unfortunately, the army has been dragging their feet and not releasing them to be refurbished. what this amendment does is removes the word may and replaces it by shall. with this, i urge its passage and yield back. >> the ranking member is recognized. >> thank you. this is a debate we had last year, and in conference, and we reached a compromise before they were prohibited from reselling these. now we give them the ability to sell a certain number as a pilot program. the concern here is basically flooding the market with 100,000 pistols. and ones that can be bought and
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shipped through the mail, and we have a significant gun violence problem in this country, and dropping another 100,000 handguns out there is not something that the department of defense wants to do, not something i think congress should mandate them to do. as i said, we reached a compromise last time to allow them, if they so chose, to distribute some of these. the gentleman is correct about the storage costs. the reason for the storage costs is we have legislatively prohibited them from destroying them, which would eliminate the storage costs, so that, to my mind, would be the better approach. i oppose this amendment. >> any further -- >> i want to revisit that. he is correct. we did deal with this last year. and we tried to accommodate and replace the word shall with may when we were told the army would in good faith release these weapons. what we also agreed to in
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conference that we didn't do in committee is we said, okay, rather than flood the market, and keep in mind, these are 30-year-old weapons that are going to collectors. we would release them 10,000 a year until they were gone. they still haven't released any of them, so we're changing that, too. we need to stop paying $200,000 a year to store these things, turn them over to the company that refurbishes them. they sell them through licensed gun dealers. unlike most other wepps, these aren't used. these going on somebody's shelf. they're collector's items. this is crazy we're having to deal with this again this year. the nra has issued a letter in support of this and urged the committee to pass it. i do the same. >> would the gentleman yield for one second. >> happy to. >> it's been four months since our bill became law. it's soon to say they have not done it. we have just done the compromise just four months ago. >> we did the compromise months before that. they have known this was coming and they have chosen to be
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dilatory. we see no movement by the army. >> it became -- >> they chose to ignore congress. >> it became law four months ago. i would like to give them compromise time. >> is there any -- >> further amendment? gentleman from rhode island recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i would join with the ranking member in strongly opposing the rogers amendment, which is similar in effect to the civilian marksmanship program amendment proposed last year that was then significantly modified in conference, as the ranking member mentioned. as i highlighted then when i spoke against it last year, the very idea of distributing handguns is in direct opposition to the program's history. cmp began following the spanish american war during which over 200,000 men surged into the army. now, there influx, which increased the size of the army ten fold, revealed the lack of training and marksmanship across the country, and obviously
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hindrance to the american war effort. thus was born the national board for the promotion of riefrl practice, an organization that oversaw cmp activities to prevent a similar fiasco in future conflicts. cmp was separated from the government in the 1990s, but the nonprofit that runs it is still known as the corporation for the promotion of rifle practice and firearm safety. so why pistols that have anything to do with this mission is beyond me, quite frankly. it's particular concerning because unlike rifles, handguns are used regularly in the commission of crimes. for instance, in 2013, of the 6,498 homicides committed by firearm for which the type of weapon was known, fully 89% were handgun related. that's in contrast to only 4% were carried out using a rifle.
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injecting tens of thousands of new pistol onto our streets seems like a recipe for disaster, as the qualities that may be 1911 a-1 fine sidearm, the fact that it's easy concealed, extremely reliable and packs quite a punch are all qualities that make them prized among kringincriminals. that is not really theoretical. the department of justice has tracked 1,768 m-1911 a-1s over the last decade due to their involvement in criminal activity. mr. chairman, i appreciate mr. rogers' amendment, at least obviates the fact that as in unlicensed dealer, the cmp is not currently bound by statute to conduct background checks to maintain reasonable records, but still failed to see how selling pistols to civilians has a nexus with our national defense. so i fail to see why
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marksmanship programs offered by groups like the national rifle association could not serve whatever residual need for training, which incidentally, they're already doing quite successful successfully. i fail to see why the cmp would need to be self-sufficient following its privatization, to get $1 million handout that does not go through the appropriations process, does not go through the authorization process, and frankly, would almost certainly be considered an earmark except for some legal gimmickry. so mr. chairman, if the committee truly feels that the cmp needs government subsidies to compete with private and nonprofit marksmanship programs, then it should authorize money to provide it in this bill, assuming they can find a way to do so that is not considered an earmark. i do however do not believe this program is a cornerstone of our
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national defense, and it was, as it was in the turn of the 20th century. i do not bloov adding tens of thousands of guns to our streets is in the best interest of americans. i do not believe that we should support a process that represents a giveaway of tens of millions of dollars of equipment to a single entity. so with that, i do not support this amendment, and i hope my colleagues would join me in opposition. and i yield back. >> the gentleman from virginia is recognized for five minutes. >> i would just like to speak out briefly, strongly in favor of this amendment. this is purely and simply an effort to get the army to do what they have been directed to do, which they haven't even taken the first step to do. i think it reiterates the intent of congress. it's also a reasonable and thoughtful way to take these pistols which are now in storage and make sure that they are put out there in a responsible and thoughtful manner. and again, i would like to ask
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my colleagues to support this amendment. >> any further amendment -- or any further discussions on the amendment? >> mr. chair, thank you. you know, i think this is the greatest form of collective lunacy. to think that somehow we are going to put tens of thousands of very powerful handguns into the marketplace and not have them subject to background checks, i would be curious to know what local law enforcement thinks about this. for starters. but this is really a bad idea. and i urge my colleagues to vote against it. >> any additional discussion on the amendment? if not, the question is only adoption of the amendment offered by the gentleman from alabama. so many are in favor, say aye.
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those opposed, no. the ayes have it. the amendment is adopted. gentleman has asked for a roll call vote. we'll call this at the end of the subcommittee mark. the gentleman from oklahoma have an amendment? >> i do. i have an amendment at the desk. >> will the clerk please pass out the amendment. without objection, we'll dispense with the reading of the amendment. the gentleman from oklahoma is recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i am glad we're debating my amendment within the readiness subcommittee. because my amendment is fundamentally about readiness. the appropriate uses and inappropriate uses of military installations. my amendment is straightforward. it prohibits unaccompanied alien children or uacs from being housed on our military installations in the united states. the language is almost identical to hr-4537, legislation sponsored by judge john carter
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of texas. hr-4537 has 61 house cosponsors including 12 members of this committee and six subcommittee chairmen. mr. chairman, i think all members of this committee can agree that the purpose of military installations is to prepare our service members fight and win wars. they do not exist to serve other nondefense purposes. generally speaking, use of military installations to fulfill nondod roles and missions is inappropriate and detrimental to readiness. mr. chairman, from the secretary of defense on down, the committee has heard restoring readiness is a top priority. my amendment is a step toward protecting readiness by insuring military installations are not used for nondefense purposes. i have personal experience with the issue at hand. in the summer of 2014, ft. sill in my state of oklahoma was selected to house a group of unaccompanied children on behalf of the department of health and human services. under current law, hhs provides
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temporary housing for uacs as their status is adjudicated. i personally met with some of the children and their caregivers. i have tremendous empathy for their situation as does everyone on the committee. but let me emp fuicize, we must treat everybody humanely and in accordance with our laws. it's important that hhs continue to perform this mission, but not on dod installations. ft. sill is the home of army air defense and artillery. its number one job is to train air defenders and artillery men. the decision to commandeer part of ft. sill to howse uacs undermined readiness at the base in a number of ways. i'll name three. seener base leadership's time was distracted from the core mission. the commander and his subordinants spent countless hires dueling with curecrats and lawyers across the agency, not
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to mention media and concerned neighbors. second, barracks were intended for military personnel were instend commandeered and used by hhs for non-military mission. finally, the installation had to spent time and resources insuring that hhs hired contractors did not access sensitive facilities and that the children did not wander into live artillery ranges. this issue has not gone away. in november of last year, just six months ago, the dod notified installations in texas, alabama, massachusetts, north dakota, california, pennsylvania, and florida that they might be selected to house uacs in the future. ft. hood is one of those under consideration. ft. hood. the texas national guard was stopped from establishing a training facility on ft. hood specifically because the area is being considered for uac housing. this is a fact. this does jeopardize readiness.
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the state chosing to house the children is right next to a live fire range where abrams, bradleys, and strikers fire their weapon systems. that is a fact. prioritizing another agency's mission over defense is not acceptable. particularly in this environment where dod needs to stretch every dollar. hhs has a job to do, but it should not infringe on military readiness to carry out its mission. other options exist. hhs should utilize some of the approximately 77,000 empty or underutilized buildings owned by the federal government. 77,000 buildings. according to the office of management and budget, these independent and underutilized buildings could be costing taxpayers $1.7 billion a year. $1.7 billion. so there are tens of thousands of empty buildings out there, hhs does not need military unique housing. it needs facilities which meet
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basic habitability standards. it's simply not credible to think that many of the 77,000 vacant and underutilized federal buildings don't meet the basic criteria. it's also not credible that they don't have extra buildings. they should put the empty buildings to use rather than further burden an underresourced military. mr. chairman, i stated in the beginning of my remarks. this is about readiness and the appropriate use of military installation housing the children on military installations is not safe for them. it drains resources and crowds out important dod activities. i urge the committee to support this amendment. >> the gentle lady from california is recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i strongly oppose this amendment. first of all, we've talked to the department of defense, and they strongly oppose this house
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amendment. the first thing is, this is what the department of defense has told us. when requested to do so, the department of defense identifies excess available facilities that are not being used in training activities, deployment preparations or any other activities necessary for the conduct of department of defense missions. and allows its federal partners to use these facilities on a temporary basis. so long as it does not impose cost on the dod and it does not affect dod readiness. so the only facilities that the dod allows to move forward with respect to any other federal agency using them for a purpose, this happens to be one of the purposes, and one of the departments, that being homeland security, if the committee's concerned that the dod excess
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facilities affect dod readiness, this is the first thing that the department of defense looks at. i would ask this colleague of mine, you know, how many children are we talking about? do you understand the background of these children who are fleeing gangs, war, civil strife? and where would you -- do you have a plan? have you looked at the number, have you looked at where we would put them? you know, i mean, just to say let's stop what we're doing right here, in particular, where the department has come forward and said, we've already looked at the effectiveness of using these facilities, and we don't need them right now. so i would strongly urge my colleagues to vote against this amendment. it's not only against the department of defense's recommendations, but it's also inhumane and not a family values
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issue that we as americans hold so strongly. and i yield back. >> ranking member. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i'll be brief. i oppose the amendment as well. it really comes down to what ms. sanchez said at the start. the department of defense has certified it does not impact readiness. as we'll hear later, it also said they have 22% excess capacity. and i ntsunderstand there may b other federal facilities that have excess capacity. if those can be identified specifically in a specific alternative plan can be come up with, we're open to that. but the department of defense along with the executive branch looked at this issue, and found that the excess capacity that exists at the military bases was the most reasonable place to do this. and to prohibit it, i think, ties the hands of the u.s. government unnecessarily. there is no evidence this is
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impacting readiness. there is excess capacity. and it does not cost the department of defense anything. so i don't think we should prohibit this. and i certainly don't think we should prohibit it unless there's a specific alternative plan put on the table for where to house the children that however you feel about it, and i agree with our representative sanchez, that they're fleeing terrible, terrible situations and should have the right to asylum that is present in our laws. even if you feel like they shouldn't, they're here, and they have to be dealt with one way or another. this is the way they came up with, and the department of defense, again, has certified over and over again that this isn't affecting readiness, isn't affecting what they do, and that they're quite able to accomplish it. i oppose this amendment and i yield back. >> let me yield myself just briefly. i understand that the department has certified, but i also know exactly what happened at ft. hood, they were holding beds for these kids, and the texas guard
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could not do exercises that they had planned to because the people at ft. hood were told they could not release the beds because they were expecting kids. so there have already been instances where training that had been planned did not occur as planned because of this. i don't care what the certification is. that's what's happened in the real world. and so at facilities especially in the south, it has had an impact. i believe there should be other place places for these folks to be housed where thereit does not a training and readiness in this way. i know it's affected them in this case in particular, and i think that's part of the reason that i know the gentleman from oklahoma as well as judge carter, who represents ft. hood,
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is very interested in this issue. let's see. i've got mr. nugent and then -- okay. i'm keeping track. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i really do appreciate the offering of this amendment because it simply states the military installation is not to be used to house any alien unlawfully present in the united states. pretty simple. potential of illegal aliens really is a law enforcement function. caring for parentless children is a health and human services. the department of defense, we have cut their budgets, asked them to do more, and unwisely thrust this on them, and it certainly shouldn't be a long-term solution. it's not a long-term migrant detention or daycare provider, especially for performing when the mission detract from the national security priority for
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the base, which we have seen at ft. hood and ft. sill. i think it's been mentioned before that this is not what the military was designed to do. and he had simply stated that there are 77,000, if i'm not mistaken, underutilized facilities within the federal government that could easily house these children. and so, with that, mr. chairman, i yield the balance of my time. >> i would thank the gentleman from florida, and of course, mr. chairman, you mentioned specifically the ft. hood issue. this also happened at ft. sill, where these beds were being required to either remain open or be used to house the uacs, and the troops that actually needed training, the troops that actually needed training could not stay on the base. they instead had to stay out in town, which of course, put more expenses on the military and does impact readiness.
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so it's not just that the national guard couldn't get the training. it also happened in the state of oklahoma. so this is an issue, and as far as, look, everybody on this committee, everybody on this committee, wants to do what is right by these children. these children are the victims here. we all know that. we have to absolutely protect the children. i don't think it's in the best interest of the children to house them right next to live fire ranges or next to unexploded ordinance. and i think that's in the interest of the children as well. so yes, we need to do our duty to the children. we need to make sure they're protected. they're victims and we need to take care of them. but this amendment is simply about military readiness and having the ability to use those other 77,000 unutilized buildings owned by the federal government. there are other options here. we need to look at those and make sure we don't impact military readiness. with that, i yield back to mr. nugent. thank you. >> once again, i thank you for
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this. but really, highlights the point that, you know, while the military was an easy fix, it should not be the long-term fix. i have heard nothing from the administration as to how they're going to fix this long-term. it's not his responsibility to come up with an alternative to where they house them. it's the administration's responsibility to come up with an alternative where to house these children. i agree. listen, we want the best for these children. we want to make sure that they're housed in a safe, in a location that is not next to ordinance going off. the military training that goes on at these bases is not necessarily a great place to have children sitting there and listening to it or even seeing it. so i would recommend that the administration do their job to find proper housing for these children, something that's a little more humane for them, but also doesn't impact the readiness of our military as
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mr. chairman, you had brought forward, it has already. it's continuing to do it. when we have to spend more money to house people at the howl day inn down the street versus on base housing that's available but being used by these undocumented children, i would suggest that we have kind of got things backwards. with that, mr. chairman, i yield back. >> mr. castro. >> thank you, chairman. my district includes the area of lackland air force base, and a few years ago when we had the influx of women and mostly children who arrived from the northern triangle countries of central america, many of them were housed, at least temporarily at lackland. many member of congress, both republic and democrat, visited lackland air force base to see these operations. i cannot recall a military commander or military official remarking about the situation being a bad one or about any
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deep concerns they had with the arrangement. i can't think of anybody who was involved, and it was a multi-agency operation, including texas state troopers at the time, anybody remarking about how it was a bad situation, and i can't recall any member of congress of either party describing how it was a bad situation. and so i'm kind of perplexed about this amendment. i also would caution us about designing a strategy to deal with a humanitarian issue of that scale from this dias. at this time, i don't think that's a wise thing to do. i yield back. >> mr. russell. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i think there's some key phrases, mr. chairman, that have been put out here that are worth addressing.
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for example, the department of defense, when requested to do so, well, yes, there is civilian control of the military, so it should not be surprising that when requests are made, that they will do their due duty and diligence with the resources they have to accomplish the task that has been assigned to them. but compliance of task and obedience to orders do not necessarily equate, you know, an opinion of support or lack of support to a mission. i think that there are indeed real impacts to have heard in this committee, mr. chairman, that it does not impact readiness is to not know what the lot of the warrior is in uniform on an naulgz when situations like this arises. and it's fine for us to debate those tasks here, but in a previous life, having worn the uniform, i can assure you that there are absolutely impacts. what does it do? it pulls resources, personnel,
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security, installation costs, utilities, transportation, fuel, dalea operations, and staffing concernis that would ordinarily not be the focus of those operations at all and it diminishes the ability to train and do the tasks to defend the country. it's not a question of whether or not something is good or degrees of good. it's a question of what is the primary purpose of the military. and that is to deploy combat ready troops to defend our country. there are many things that the military can do ably because of their ability to have problem solving skills and their quick reaction to situations, but that does not necessarily mean that that is a license to take on all of these other missions. it's clearly been shown by my colleague in oklahoma that there is ample support, structure available and vacant. there are ample other agencies that can take on these tasks.
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but it is also equally true that you would have the military absolutely be effected by these operations when they hit them, and then that would diminish their capacity to stand ready and stand guard for the country. this falls out of the purview of the defense of the republic. it is something that the military obviously will react to many things when so ordered or requested to do, i believe was the quote. but that does not mean that we should sit here on this committee and say it has absolutely no impact, it doesn't cost anything, et cetera. the facts simply do not bear that out. and with that, mr. chairman, i would like to yield the balance of my time to my colleague from oklahoma. >> i appreciate the words of my fellow oklahoman and war fighter for the impacts that he is aware of, and mr. chairman, i'm ready
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to yield back. >> i yield back the balance of my time. >> thank you, mr. chair. i would like to speak against this amendment. first of all, just to focus on what the impact of this amendment is. let's look at the wording. prohibition. section a, military station may not be used to accompahouse an unacompanied child. they would be cut off all together. no regulation, no fixes around the edges, no flexibility. it says no unaccompanied alien child shall be able to be housed on a base. so what does this mean? for some of us on the border states that worked closely with border security, what will occur is our border security, instead of actually focusing on stopping the bad guys, the criminals that are crossing the border, will end up finding themselves being
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the babysitters on the border. it's not ideal, and i agree with this, that our children temporary children should be housed on military bases. but it was the only situation that was the only option at that point that could fit the need. secondly, i think we also need to look at why this is a bad idea. this last goal around was not the first time that we actually housed unaccompanied minors on military bases. as a matter of fact, this happened twice. operation baby lift, where we rescued thousands of vietnamese american children and took them off vietnam to save them from the communists, where do you think they were housed? they were housed on american bases. some of them were also unfortunately undocumented at that point. also, if you look at even more recent history with operation peter pan, where we suddenly had to also rescue many, many cuban immigrants that would be considered under the guise of this unaccompanied minors.
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they were also put in defense installations. my overall statement is that while this is not perfect, putting a prohibition on something like this does not actually make the situation any better. it actually will only create a larger emergency should we find ourselves really having a huge flux of thousands and thousands of people. by putting a hard stop and saying this shall not occur, it really does affect also our national foreign security. the defense department obviously, theobvious ly department offense defense and military readiness is important, but also to deny refugee flows aren't also important to what we understand as national security, is i think extremely naive. they all go hand in hand. i ask everyone to negate and say no to this amendment. allow the flexibility to occur, because we know how dynamic the world is and how quickly things
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can change, and we have seen it once, we'll probably see it again, and we have already -- as i have pointed it out, we have seen it a couple times with other occasions. thank you. i yield back. >> chairman yields back. >> our esteemed colleagues from oklahoma in their support for this amendment have cited specific issues. of base security, of other activities on the base that might be interrupted. following on the comments just a moment ago, it seems to me that what we might want to do with this amendment is to rewrite it in such a way as to remove the outright prohibition but rather write it in such a way as to place specific requirements or elements that any unaccompanied minor program would not interrupt the base operations.
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and in that way, it provides the necessary flexibility because mr. geragos is quite correct, we don't know what the next problem will be, but an outright prohibition as written here, this really constrained. by the way, the military does a whole lot more than wage war. most recently, the ebola situation in africa, and there are numerous other efforts in which the military is involved in humanitarian issues. so i would just suggest that maybe we withdraw this and rewrite it in such a way as to be flexible, recognizing that the principle duty of these bases is the military duty, but there may be flexibility and opportunity to deal with humanitarian issue. with that, i yield back. >> other discussion on the amendment? if not, the question occurs on the amendment offered by the gentleman from oklahoma. those in favor will say aye. those opposed say no. being the chair, the ayes have
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it. >> i would like a recorded vote. >> the jeanty lady from california wants a recorded vote. it will be postponed as previously announced. other amendments to this portion of the bill, gentleman from virginia. >> i ask unanimous consent to call up unblocked package number two consisting of amendments that have been worked and approved. >> without objection, so ordered. if the staff would please pass out the unblock package. >> without objection, the amendments in the unblock package are considered as read and the gentleman from virginia is recognized for five minutes. >> thank you.
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unblock package number two is comprised of the following. amendment number 033 that clarifies military personnel could be used for functions currently being performed by civilian personnel or contractors. amendment number 035 extends the cap on services contract spending. amendment number 054 r-2 by ms. duckworth on equipment purposes by foreign entities. amendment 144 r-1 regarding a joint eod program. amendment number 187 r-1 by mr. rogers regarding technical corrections to hiring authority. amendment number 202 regarding a sense of congress for the armed services in panama city. amendment number 238 by mr. russell regarding federal employees on administrative leave. amendment 239, mr. russell, concerning personnel files and amendment number 280, by mr. miller, regarding a sense of
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congress on storm water systems. with that, mr. chairman, i yield back. >> further discussion on the unblock offered by the gentleman from virginia? gentleman from utah. >> yeah, i hate to say this, but i would like to commend both the gentleman from virginia and mr. bordallo for her amendment in here as well. this is a significant one that helps both contractors as well as civilian personnel and the military when they have to move slots around for shortfall. i want to thank you for doing that. that's the amendment i think is extremely important. i'll yield back. >> further discussion? if not, the question is on the amendments offered by the gentleman from verge, those in favor, say aye. the ayes have it. the amendment is adopted. further amendments. gentleman from utah. >> apparently, i have one at the
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desk. which you can pass on your own. i'd be happy. >> the staff will distribute mr. bishop, i believe it's number 248. >> without objection, the amendment is considered as read, and the gentleman from utah is recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, for mr. chairman. before i start going into this amendment, we came very close to actually having a permanent compromise on this particular piece of legislation, and i actually want to take the time to thank the staff, both republican and democrats on this committee and personal staff, for what their efforts were.
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now, there are some staff on other committees ymg not going to thank, close to home, but for the people in this room, i do appreciate that effort. you were marvelous with whom to work. i thank you for that. this issue is going to come back every year. every time there is a renewal of military bases. because it simply means we have the potential of saving the military millions of dollars and reducing a ridiculous exercise in paperwork on these continual withdrawal proposals. every time you have a base that technically is belonging to the blm, but has been set aside for military use, it comes up for renewal every 25 years. that is stechnically a neap event, which means for every property that has to come up for renewal, they have to go through a paper trail process that can take up to four years and they have to spend money, which has been up to $7 million, not total, but for every time you do one of them. and the sad situation is nothing ever changes.
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at the end of the process, they agree to do the same thing they have been doing for the last 25 years going forward. it's never been a change for that. the interior department sometimes said, well, they need to do an environmental review to make sure everything is going well. no, they don't. this is military land that is set aside for military use. it's continuing on that military practice, and when the military is done with it, we have laws that came with the process that gives them first crack at getting the land back. what i'm saying is what this amendment does is for the ones that have come up this time, that they will be withdrawn permanently to the military until such time as the military no longer wants that land and then it will be given back, and they don't have to go through these time-consuming and costly periodic reviews when nothing changes. if you have a military installation owned by the military, fine, nothing happens. it's just those that happen to be on blm land set aside for military use. they have to do this procedure all the time.
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there is a way of solving this. until we come up with a permanent solution, every time these groups come up, i will ask for the same amendments so had military doesn't have to spend readiness dollars on something that is redundant and useless. yield back. >> the gentleman from virginia. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i would like to speak out in strong favor of this amendment. it just makes sense to make sure we're managing the cost associated with this. the dod has a superior environmental management record. we don't have a single instance where there's been a problem with this. it does beg the question about why you would do it on range lands, things where the use is going to continue in a military realm. this is, i think, a pure simple straightforward commonsense amendment to fix a system where we're creating additional cost, additional bureaucracy where there's not a need for one. with that, i yield back. >> ms. tsongas. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i urge my colleagues to oppose this amendment and support the
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current public review process for withdrawn military lands. withdrawn military lands are public lands that have been turned over to the dod to conduct military training, testing, and in support of military readiness. our nation's public lands belong to all americans. and they are managed to balance many competing uses. recreation, responsible economic development, sustainable resource extraction, military purposes, and conservation of historic american landscapes just to name a few. determining how we must strike this multiple use balance is something we discuss at almost every single hearing on the natural resources committee. our military installations are not isolated from this broader debate. under the military withdrawal of review process, the department of the interior and the department of defense work together to determine if a public land withdrawal is still being used for the purpose for which it was originally established. these reviews are typically
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conducted every 20 to 25 years, a far cry from a burdensome requirement. comprehensive public reviews a vital to promoting the highest quality stewardship and management of our public lands. this process provides regular opportunities for dod and the various branches of our military to evaluate their continued use of the lands and formally coordinate with the department of interior on resource mana manageme management. regular review also enabled congress and the public to provide input and oversight, and we have examples of when this process has helped the dod relinquish responsibility of surplus land they no longer needed. the bureau of land management has been able to make the lands available for other priorities, identified by the public through the land use planning process. for example, the dod was able to return over 111,000 acres of public land from the goldwater range in arizona back to the bureau of land management after
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a comprehensive land withdrawal review. over 83,000 acres of this land is now part of a national monument. we must never forget that our federal lands belong to all americans. no matter where they may live. preserving military land reviews protects the fundamental right of the public to help determine how our lands are managed. i urge you to support the public review process and reject this amendment. and i yield back the balance of my time. >> gentle lady from california. >> mr. chairman, i would oppose this amendment and ask our members oppose it also. mentioned earlier when we started today that this is my 20th ndaa. it's also -- i have also been for 19 of those years in the conference committee. i recall the last couple of conference committees ndaa of
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2015 and of 2016, we had this issue, and it was dropped out of -- by the conference committee. i also will note that this issue with respect to our committee has never had a full hearing on it. so maybe that's something to pult on tput on the books to really take a look at this. while i know that the department of defense opposes, doesn't support this provision from my good friend from utah, it has expressed a willingness to take a look at the paperwork issue that congressman bishop talked about. i will go to ms. tsongas' point that this review is every 20 to 25 years, so with respect to specific piece of land that we're looking at, i think looking at it every 25 years is
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not overly burdensome. maybe the process by which we must go through is something we can take a look at. but i look around and i think, i told you earlier, just in 20 years, how much this committee had moved so much on its policies. so when we look at a piece of land owned by americans, 25 years, a lot can happen. maybe we need it, maybe we don't. maybe other commercial or activity or development has gone around it. so i think that we should continue with this provision, but certainly, i think there is room for us to figure out maybe have some hearings on this, to take a look at that paperwork requirement, burdensome process that mr. bishop is so concerned about. i would urge our members vote -- >> would the gentle
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lady-year-old? >> yes, i will. >> i appreciate that and i appreciate the fact there's a permanent solution that can be made here. i said originally it's not these staffers who have a problem with it. it's the staff on a different committee of which i'm fairly closely associated. yeah, we have had hearings on this. but there are five specific elements, five specific places in this particular amendment because those are up this time. but for each of those, it is still $7 million and four years of paperwork. and at the end of the day, in all of the ones we have ever done, there has never been one that has changed. you always say, keep doing what you have been doing for 25 years. this is a record of futility that simply wasted money and will not change. i would love to see a permanent solution to this. i think there is a way of doing that. i think it's silly what we're doing. we're wasting readiness money. i thank you for your concern and i really appreciate that. i wish you would quit talking
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against the amendment. other than that, everything is perfect. >> thank you to my good friend from utah. i'm sure we want to take a look further at this. at this moment, i would ask our members issue a no on this amendment. and i yield back, mr. chairman. >> further discussion on this amendment? if not, the question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from utah, mr. bishop. those in favor, say aye. those opposed, say no. the ayes have it. ms. tsongas requests a recorded vote which will be postponed. does the gentleman from utah have a further amendment to offer? >> this is even better. >> is that yes? >> yes. >> if staff would please distribute amendment, i believe it's 184.
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>> without objection, the amendment is considered as read. the gentleman from utah is recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. the utah tests and training range is the largest land based training range that we have. and as large as it is and as important as it is for fifth generation weaponry, we actually need even more space to do the testing and the training that takes place there. and so congressman stewart of utah has worked well to come up with a solution to this problem. of how can the military effectively use that range land when you simply need more space, but not all the time. you don't want to actually transfer the land over permanently. it's just for the times when
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they are using their training. so they can actually carve off other areas around that test and training range and have it vacated so there will be a safety factor as well as the ability to maneuver. however, to do that, it puts an inposition on the people who are living around that. what congressman stewart has done with this bill which i'm now proposing as an amendment is trying to solve this problem. first of all, by giving the military the times to be able to choose the times of days when they need to expand their footprint so they can conduct those military -- those military drills safely and no one is going to be harmed by it. the other time, helping solve some problems of those people that installation that could be potential encroachment areas. one of those is to take the school trust land, so in the west, as you sometimes probably know, it's a checkerboard pattern, and there are areas that have been set aside for school trust lands which they have a legal right to develop, but they're close to the range
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and they're actually in an encroachment issue. what this does is we go through a process, they work through to take the lands that are close to the range and give them over to blm so they can be totally daump nalted by them and exchange them for areas that are further away that can be used for economic development so you can build the trust lands that fund the schools in the west. not trying to be personal about this, but the schools in the west have grown at half the value of schools in the east, primarily because we don't have a lot of lands that can be developed in this process. to do this is not only a legislative prerogative, it's a sledge slative obligation for our kids. the second one dealt with 2477 roads that are a problem. i understand some of you may not understand this. there are no 2477 roads in ohio or new jersey or minnesota or massachusetts. they are all a product here in the west, but a road is a road and a right of way, class b roads are those that have been used for over a century and are
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actually maintained, although not -- they're dirt, but they're maintained by the county, and class d roads and right of ways have been used for over a century by the people. this becomes significant for the military because unfortunately for the military, to get to one side to the other side, they have to go on these particular roads. not only that, but a lot of these roads are under the air space around this uter, every change in the designation of those roads could be an encroachment factor for the military. in addition to that, these roads and right of ways are used by those people who live there to move their cattle, to go to church, to go to stores. solving this problem would be a great encroachment -- a great benefit to any kind of potential encroachment. now, we did do one kind of compromise with this. there were concerned about any of these roads in wilderness areas. anything that is a congressionally designated wilderness or administratively designated wilderness study area
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is exempt. these are roads that are outside of that particular area, that are designated and used now, and what we're trying to do is simply solve it. now, you saw a group, and it's probably going to be brought up, 26 groups, environmental groups that don't like this. because these roads are in areas that have wilderness potential. that's a key element. blm ranks land, they do from most to least successful use of that land. everything has wilderness potential. the deck on my apartment has wilderness potential. you don't dust these benches here, they will turn into wilderness potential. what we're talking about are not areas that are for wilderness. they're exempt. it's the other areas that have a minimal amount, and let's face it. some of these groups, my predecessor told me, at one time, wanted the faa as well as the air phose force to go around
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because the trails will seep down into the wilderness area and destroy the wilderness opportunity for those who happen to be there. forch tunat fortunately, we didn't do that. that's what this tries to do. this is an area to give us a chance of doing weapons at the same time solving problems. chris stewart has a good bill. i urge your adoption of it. >> time of the gentleman has expired. >> thank you, i would like to speak strongly in favor of this amendment. this a straightforward solution to an issue where we're going to make sure we're supporting county residents and local government operations as mr. bishop spoke about. this is the most straightforward, most commonsense way to solve this problem and i urge my colleagues to support this amendment. >> gentle lady from guam. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i truly appreciate my good friend mr. bishop's willingness to try to find common ground to negotiate a compromise on this
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particular amendment. i know he has worked and we have worked on our side with the committees. and i am disappointed that our side was unable to find that compromise. the core of this amendment subtitle a, will address air force readiness needs. however, i have serious concerns over subtitles b and c as written. i believe there are ways to address the broader concerns with more refined language. moreover, there simply is not a clear military readiness need to these provisions, although i sympathize with the intent behind these other subtitles. so with that said, mr. chairman, i hope that we can continue to work together and look forward to finding common ground with this provision during conference committee. however, at this point, i will be in opposition to this amendment. and i yield back.
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>> ms. tsongas. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i am opposed to this amendment and urge my cloolleagues to vot no. while this amendment aims to increase the training facility in utah, it also contains several provisions that have nothing to do with military readiness or national security and instead serve only to undermine management of our nation's public lands. i agree with the majority that section a would increase safety buffer zones around the test and training range and help meet future requirements of the f-35. however, as a member of the natural resources committee, i'm strongly opposed to sections b and c. section b exchanges public lands which belong to all americans to the state of utah. i have supported land exchanges that serve the public intrreres and help consolidate, but this exchange does not filt that
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criteria. according to testimony by the bureau of land management, these lands include significant natural and cultural resources such as greater sage growth habitat, historic sites elable for listing on the national register of historic places, active blm grazing lands and popular off highway vehicle trails. this section of the amendment also creates a new process for establishing the value of our public lands slated to be exchanged, which according to blm could, quote, make it nearly impossible, unquote, to transfer the land in a timely manner. section c grants 6,000 miles of transportation rights of way through public land to three utah counties without public review or oversight. there is no connection to military readiness for this transfer. the air force testified at a recent natural resources committee that the, quote, air force has no equity in title three, what is now section c of the draft legislation, unquote. the department of interior and
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department of defense have a long standing track record of successful partnership. this amendment is not a response to the military's genuine needs. it's an attempt to use national security as an excuse to undermine federal management of public lands. as the salt lake city tribune wrote in a recent editorial on this legislation, quote, the test range bill should be about the test range, not flying a public lands agenda under the radar, unquote. i urge my colleagues to vote no on this amendment and i yield back. >> further debate on this amendment? if not, the question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from utah, mr. bishop, those in favor, say aye. those opposed say no. being the chair, the ayes have it. gentle lady from massachusetts requests a recorded vote, which will be postponed. further amendments on this section of the bill, gentleman from oklahoma. >> i have an amendment at the
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desk. >> staff will distribute the amendment. without objection, the amendment is considered read. >> thank you, mr. chairman. the u.s. military takes great pains to comply with the many regulations imposed by the endangered species act. complying with esa is costly and often disruptive to base operations. it further complicate plans to expand and modify military installations. it's important to balance the demands of esa with readiness at
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our installations. however, it's al appropriate for congress to act when the balance swings too far away from readiness. my amendment helps reestablish the balance for two species, the lesser prairie chicken and the american burying beetle. it prohibits its listing as threatened or endangered until the year 2023 which gives time for a multistate range wide program to achieve conservation goals. it also delists the american burying beetle as a species whose population and known locations have surged since it was listed in 1989. this amendment is critical for military installations in my state of oklahoma. as the oklahoma general stated in a letter to this committee, quote, the risk posed by the ongoing listings of the american burying beetle and the lesser prairie chicken to oklahoma's installation ability to expand is concerning. we cannot afford to have a risk
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of being unable to expand one ofoof o our military installations should the need arrive. it's important for my colleagues to built upon insufficient analysis and invalid reasoning. the ruling was upheld in february of this year. it was upheld two months ago. again as a matter of law, the lesser prairie chicken is not subject to the endangered species act. my amendment would maintain by preventing relisting for five years. the lesser prairie chicken's population growth was 25% from
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2015 to 2014. number one was rain. five states with the lesser prairie population implemented voluntary programs and conservation program managed by the western association of fish and wildlife agencies and approved by the federal fish and wildlife service. rainfall and the states working together are increasing the population without any help from washington. there seven military bases with the range of the chicken, including new mexico, texas, colorado and oklahoma. all of these would face impacts if the lesser prairie chicks en relisted in terms of future expansion. let's give time for the state-based conservation program to work. mr. chairman, part two delisted the american beatle.
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this is long overdue. the fish and wildlife service listed them as endangered in 1989. at the time the service concluded that there existed only two. since 1989 the known range, distribution and abundance has expanded significantly. the known range expanded 100-fold. the abb has gone from two states to ten states including kansas, texas, nebraska, south dakota, massachusetts and ohio. wild populations are stable and robust. there was never any substantialiated threat to the beatle and there clearly is none today. the fish and wildlife service supplemented highly successive captive breeding programs in both missouri and ohio. more states can easily breed and reintroduce the beatle it they so choose by any measure.
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it's clear that the beatle no longer belongs on the endangered species act. the plan is squarely in the beatle's known range. they deal with the requirements and future plans to expand and modify are impacted as well we shouldn't be burtening them for a species which is clearly thriving. that's where possible and reasonable. they impose costs on the military every day and we need to prepare the force and my amendment helps restore that balance. i yield back. >> the gentle lady from california. >> we were alerted to the emerging national security threats roaming the heartland. we continue to battle the cleeper cells that threaten to
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disrupt our way of life. brace yourself, the lesser prairie chickens are coming. listening to this debate, you would think they were relevant to national security. my good colleague on the other side of the aisle is not familiar with the act that provides the military with the opportunity to enavoid the discussion exceedly. they never have to be better thanned about that. the army, navy, and the air force sent letters saying they don't impact military raining, operations or readiness. this is not about national security. this is about big oil. looking at this map, you can see
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almost no overlap between the habitat and military lands. there a lot of oil fields and gas wells. is this discussed because it's a terrorist or because it's getting in the way of corporate profits? unless we march them off the cab cat at gunpoint, this is the business of scientists and not soldiers. i urge my colleagues to oppose it and get on with the business of the day. i yield back. if not, the familiar from utah. >> sarcasm not with standing, there is a relevance between the prairie chick 19 does have a presence and certain military bases on the southwest and it will be a continuing program
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until a judge said you didn't do it the right way and you have to put it on hold. this was taken out in conference because of certain people who thought it might cause the bill to be vetoed. they took it out and the bill was vetoed, but not because of this provision. they have a place to be there. that's not the way it works. they only defend if a plan has been working together and in coming up with that, they are given to the department of the interior to decide whether that plan is successful or not. the military will not tell you if it would be better or worse. there is a significant problem. just putting our heads in the sand that belies the reality of what is taking place. this is not about oil. this is about military preparedness and how certain laws have been used to harm our
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military preparedness and cost a great deal of money. you can ask the warmer why they have to spend that this year for endangered species on their lands. that's significant readiness cost to us. we have to be realistic about that there is something going on there and this is a signifi cant issue and you can make fun of those. we talked about the ealthss. this is significant and real and we talked about it and it spills over into your committee, but that gives me a chance to speak to you all. please support this amendment. you did it on the floor last year. let's do it again. i yield back. >> i think we brought the debate to the armed services committee.
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i firmly believe this attempts to add to the underlying bill. they gave no indication that the listings have negative lie impacted readiness for good reason. neither had critical happen habitat on dod lands. it is no longer protected due to a court decision last year. they also recently announced they will reassess if the beetle needs protection under the endangered species act that has been successful since the enactment 40 years ago. they should allow the fish and wildlife service to make the decisions in accordance with the
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laws. this should be on a species by species basis. i want to reiterate that they had no impact on military readiness and i urge my colleagues to reject the amendment. i yield back. >> the gentlemen from texas. >> they have a 2% success ratio and over 40 plus years in existence. i would think the folks ought to be embarrassed that that's the case. we ought to be able to do better than that. with respect to that legislation is wrong headed and i urge the adoption of the amendment. i yield back. >> mr. cook? >> i would like to yield to my colleague from oklahoma. >> i thank my colleague from
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california. neither the prairie chicken or burying beetle is endangered or threatened at this point. they have not shown this is a risk, but we have a statement from oklahoma's general that said the risk posed by the ongoing listings of the beetle and lesser prairie chicken by the installations's ability to expand is concerning. we cannot afford a risk of being able to expand should the need arise. that's a statement from theageitant general. in the map that the gentle lady showed us right smack dab in the middle was a sale in the great state of oklahoma and all of which are affected by the peesh ease. with that, i will yield back to the item from california. >> i yield back. >> no

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