Barletta Votes to Increase Funding for U.S. Troops
WASHINGTON – Today the U.S. House of Representatives voted on a bipartisan budget package, which reverses the defense sequester by allowing for $700 billion in defense spending for Fiscal Year 2018 (FY18) and $716 billion in defense spending for FY19. The budget deal also includes a $46 billion increase in non-defense spending in FY18 and FY19 to be used for National Institutes of Health (NIH) research, the opioid epidemic, mental health programs, and reducing the Veterans Administration healthcare maintenance backlog. Rep. Lou Barletta (PA-11) voted in favor of this legislation, which passed the House by a vote of 240 to 186.
“Elevating the budget caps on defense spending was the critical underlying feature of this two year budget package,” Barletta said following the vote. “Our military readiness has deteriorated at an alarming rate, severely limiting America’s ability to maintain the sufficient and necessary resources to provide for a national defense. The United States army is at the smallest level since WWII, the United States Navy is at the smallest level since WWI, and 80 percent of Marine Corps aviation units lack the minimum number of ready basic aircraft. There are a lot of things I am upset with about this budget that I will continue to fight against in the upcoming appropriations processes. However, the primary role of the federal government is to protect and defend American citizens. We simply cannot wait any longer to stabilize this deterioration.”
In recent testimony in front of the House Armed Services Committee, Defense Secretary James Mattis laid the urgency to act plain before Congress: “Let me be clear: as hard as the last 16 years of war have been, no enemy in the field has done more to harm the readiness of the U.S. military than the combines impact of the Budget Control Act’s defense spending caps, worsened by operating in 10 of the last 11 years under continuing resolutions of varied and unpredictable duration.”