tv House Session Part 3 CSPAN July 13, 2017 5:05pm-7:06pm EDT
tax, stealing from medicare and medicaid, and, again, millions of people losing their coverage. the senate bill now that is circulating does even deeper damage to americans with medicaid. the president has called the house bill mean. this is even meaner. republicans will do all this to damage seniors, children and working families, just to hand tax breaks to the richest. by the way, it hits not only working families and seniors and the rest, but veterans within those families. sick and disabled children. people in rural hospitals, or served by rural hospitals. ever, the families who will suffer are the most eloquent. nothing is more eloquent to a member of congress than the voice of his or her own constituents. and those stories and the outside mobilization of the outside groups who are involved in the sit-ins and town hall meetings and call-ins and the
rest. nd presenting the stories. they keep turning up the heat on trumpcare. people know, people will act upon it. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2017] >> take you back now live to the floor of the house. gaveling back in. the chair: the house is in the committee of the whole house on the state of the union for further consideration of h.r. 2810 which the clerk will report by title. the clerk: a bill to authorize appropriations for fiscal year 2018 for military activities of the department of defense and for military construction, to prescribe military personnel strength for such fiscal year and for other purposes. the chair: when the committee of the whole rose earlier today, a request for a recorded vote on amendment number 10 printed in house report 115-217 offered by the gentlewoman from missouri, mrs. hartzler, had been postponed. pursuant to clause 6 of rule 18 proceedings will now resume on those amendments printed in house report 115-217 on which
further proceedings were postponed in the following order -- amendment number 1 by mr. garamendi of california. amendment number 3 by mr. buck of colorado. amendment number 4 by mr. perry of pennsylvania. amendment number 10 by mrs. hartzler of missouri. amendment number 5 by mr. gosar of arizona. amendment number 6 by mr. tom rooney of florida. the chair will reduce to two minutes after the first in this series. the unfinished business is the request for a recorded vote on amendment number 1 printed in house report 115-217 by the gentleman from california, mr. garamendi, on which further proceedings were postponed and on which the noes prevailed by voice vote. the clerk will redesignate the amendment. the clerk: amendment number 1 printed in house report 115-217 offered by mr. garamendi of california. the chair: a recorded has been requested. those in support of the request for a recorded vote will rise and be counted. a sufficient number having arisen, a recorded vote is ordered. members will record their votes by electronic device. this is a 15-minute vote. [captioning made possible by the national captioning institute, inc., in cooperation with the united states house of representatives. any use of the closed-captioned coverage of the house
he house will come to order. he house will come to order. the chair would like to remind all members that coming votes are two-minute votes. the chair would also like to remind members that would mean that you need to stay close to he floor for two-minute votes. the unfinished business is the request for a recorded vote on amendment number 3 printed in house report 115-217 by the gentleman from colorado, mr. buck, on which further proceedings were postponed and which the ayes prevailed by voice vote. the clerk: amendment number 3 printed in house report 115-217 offered by mr. buck of colorado. the chair: a recorded vote having been requested, those in support of the request for a recorded vote will rise and be counted. a sufficient number having arisen, a recorded vote is ordered. members will record their votes
by electronic device. this is a two-minute vote. [captioning made possible by the national captioning institute, inc., in cooperation with the united states house of representatives. any use of the closed-captioned coverage of the house proceedings for political or commercial purposes is expressly prohibited by the u.s. house of representatives.]
gentleman from pennsylvania, mr. perry, on which further proceedings were postponed and the ayes prevailed by voice vote. the clerk will redesignate the the amendment. the clerk: amendment number 4 offered by mr. perry of pennsylvania. the chair: a recorded vote having been requested, those in support of the request for a recorded vote will rise and be counted. a sufficient number having arisen, a recorded vote is ordered. members will record their votes by electronic device. members, this is a two-minute vote. [captioning made possible by the national captioning institute, inc., in cooperation with the united states house of representatives. any use of the closed-captioned coverage of the house proceedings for political or commercial purposes is expressly prohibited by the u.s. house of representatives.]
the chair: on this vote the yeas are 185, the nayses are 234. he amendment is not adopted. the unfinished business is the request for a recorded vote on amendment number 10 printed in house report 115-217 by the gentlewoman from missouri, mrs. hartzler, on which further proceedings were postponed and on which the ayes very prail -- prevailed by voice vote. the clerk will redesignate the amendment. the clerk: amendment offered by mrs. hartzler of missouri. the chair: a recorded vote having been requested, those in support of the request for a recorded vote will rise and be counted. a sufficient number having arisen, a recorded vote is ordered. members will record their votes by electronic device. members, this is a two-minute vogt. -- vote.
the chair: on this vote the yeas are 209, the nays are 214. he amendment is not adopted. the unfinished business is the request for a recorded vote on amendment number 5 printed in house report 115-217 by the gentleman from arizona, mr. gosar, on which further proceedings were postponed and the aye press veiled by voice vote. the clerk: amendment number 5 printed in house report 115-217 offered by mr. gosar of arizona. the chair: a recorded vote having been requested, those in
support of the request for a recorded vote will rise and be counted. a sufficient number having arisen, a recorded vote is ordered. members will record their votes by electronic device. members, this is a two-minute vote. [captioning made possible by the national captioning institute, inc., in cooperation with the united states house of representatives. any use of the closed-captioned coverage of the house proceedings for political or commercial purposes is expressly prohibited by the u.s. house of representatives.]
rooney, on on which further proceedings were postponed and on which the noes prevailed by voice vote. the clerk will redesignate the amendment. the clerk: amendment number 6 printed in house report hurp 216 offered by mr. -- house report 115-217 offered by mr. rooney of florida. the chair: a recorded vote is requested. those in support of the request for a recorded vote will rise and be counted. a sufficient number having arisen, a recorded vote is ordered. members will record their votes by electronic device. this is a two-minute vote. [captioning made possible by the national captioning institute, inc., in cooperation with the united states house of representatives. any use of the closed-captioned coverage of the house proceedings for political or commercial purposes is expressly prohibited by the u.s. house of representatives.]
for what purpose does the gentleman from oklahoma seek recognition? mr. cole: i have an amendment at the desk. the chair: the clerk will designate the amendment. the clerk: amendment number number 12 printed in house report 115-217 offered by mr. cole of oklahoma. the house will come to order. the house is back in amendments and members cannot proceed with members carrying on conversations in the well and back chamber. if you have conversations, please take those conversations ut of the chamber.
the house will come to order. please remove conversations, both sides of the aisle, please. off the back wall, out of the isles. pursuant to house resolution 440, the gentleman from oklahoma, mr. cole, and a member opposed, each will control 15 minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from oklahoma. mr. cole: i thank the speaker. mr. speaker, since the passage of the original authorization for the use of military force directed against al qaeda in 2001, the makeup of the congress has changed and frankly the conflict in which we find ourselves on the war on terror has also changed. we find ourselves -- the chair: the gentleman will
suspend. the house will come to order. the gentleman deserves to be heard on this amendment. please remove conversations from the floor. n the committee. the committee will come to order. the gentleman from oklahoma may proceed. mr. cole: thank you, mr. speaker. as i said, since 2001, we passed the original authorization for the use of military force against al qaeda and against associated enemies. the nature of the war on terror in which we find ourselves has changed dramatically, and we now find ourselves fighting enemies that simply did not exist at the time in areas that nobody in congress anticipated we would be at war. this has caused a number of us to have very serious concerns as to whether or not the
original authorization for the use of military force is still relevant, and frankly, many of us have concerns that the war-making power of congress is slipping away from us. indeed, we find ourselves engaged since that original aumf in 14 different countries on more than 40 different occasions without congress authorizing the use of military force. in our view, a new aumf is necessary. however, i also recognize that needs to come through a process and so my effort mere is to try and set up a process where the administration can participate, we can have an orderly discussion and the appropriate committees can mark up a new aumf if congress indeed thinks it does. again, i think many of us do. a new aumf would provide clear authority for ongoing operations against isis and other terrorist groups and it would fulfill the constitutional responsibility of congress to authorize the
use of force. my amendment directs the president to put forward a strategy and analysis and a framework that we can actually debate and take action on. the underlying bill being considered today provides authorization for training and equipping our military, just as important as the time for debate -- to debate and deliberate how that military should be used to defeat our enemies. recently in an appearance before the house appropriations -- excuse me -- the house defense appropriations subcommittee, secretary mattis made an appearance. i actually asked him, would it be helpful to have an aumf and at that time he said it absolutely would be helpful. our men and women would be deployed, again, in places where nobody thought in 2001 thought they would be deployed to need to know the congress of the united states is fully supportive of their deployment. so this amendment would direct
that the president within 30 days after the passage of the legislation present to congress a report that, again, justifies the action, tells us the strategy, lays out the objectives. and within 30 days after that report was received the secretary of state and the secretary of defense could be called before the relevant committees to actually explain and defend that. now, again, in my view, i still think we need a new authorization for the use of military force, but i want to start a process whereby that can begin. i think this would help us achieve that. if others have a different opinion, that's fine, too, but i think they would still find the report useful and the testimony invaluable. sooner or later, congress needs to take responsibility. i think -- we slip into almost endless warfare that a lot of
us never anticipated we would be. again, these are not actions that i necessarily question, but i think they have not been authorized, not been debated, not been examined. and frankly the american people have been denied that debate. we've also, frankly, they've been denied the opportunity to hold their members responsible. remember, that original authorization the use of military force was 2001, almost 80% of the members of this body have been elected since that original authorization. i think they ought to listen to the debate and their constituents ought to be able to hold them accountable. so i urge adoption of the amendment and with that, i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: for what purpose does the gentleman from massachusetts seek recognition? >> i rise to claim time in opposition to the amendment, although i will not oppose the amendment. the chair: without objection the gentleman is recognized.
mr. mcgovern: i rise in support of the cole amendment. i'm a great admirer of the gentleman from oklahoma. have worked together on letters to speaker ryan to bring to the floor an aumf. i value the gentleman's leadership and desire to find common ground with members on both sides of the aisle. but it is frustrating, mr. chairman, to know this amendment was made in order while every other amendment to require the house to take concrete action on these wars were denied their right to debate. maybe my good friend from oklahoma is right and congress has to take baby steps. it needs yet another report on afghanistan, iraq, and syria. this committee on foreign affairs and -- need to be ordered to hold hearings to review these matters. but what then? according to this amendment, nothing. aye had my fill of congress doing nothing.
i admire the gentleman from oklahoma and support his amendment but i'm sick and tired of reports. after 16 years in afghanistan, we need a debate on the future of u.s. military engagement there and we need it now. the gentleman said, sooner or later. well, after years we have already arrived at sooner and later. after six years of military operations in iraq and syria, we need to volt on an aumf to address the fight against the islamic state and we need it now. how much longer will congress keep sending our brave service men and women to war while it sitz on its hands back here in washington, safe and sound? i urge my colleagues to support this amendment but i demand the house republican leadership find the courage to act on those matters now. our troops and their families deserve more than silence from a congress that has no qualms about sending them to war but fails to have the political courage to take a vote. i reserve my time. the chair: the gentleman reserves. the gentleman from oklahoma is
recognized. mr. cole: thank you, mr. speaker. i yield two minutes to the distinguished chairman of the house armed services committee, the gentleman from texas. the chair: the gentleman from texas is recognized. >> mr. chairman, i appreciate the gentleman from oklahoma and his consistent, strong leadership on this issue. mr. thornberry: i, like him, believe it is time to have a new aumf given the change of circumstances and the evolution of the threats which we face. this is the third administration that has had to take the 2001 aumf and stretch its meaning to encompass all sorts of groups and all sorts of countries and all sorts of circumstances. and i think from a legal standpoint, we need to update the aumf so we are consistent with the intent of the constitution. the even more important point is the point the gentleman from
oklahoma made, that is, the men and women out there risk thearg live december serve to know they have the full backing of the country that comes from an aumf that congress has passed. i do want to take exception with one point that is sometimes made. this house has voted twice to update the 2001 aumf. t voted in 2011 and in 2012 to update that aumf to include associated forces. it happened to be part of the ndaa even though the armed services committee is not the committee of jurisdiction. the foreign affairs committee worked with us and we passed it twice in the house. it did not survive contact with the senate. and although there was some language that came from it, but there have been efforts in this house to update this language. but i think the gentleman's approach is exactly right. as for the strategy, the budget that goes wit, the legal framework, we are to follow,
including the aumf. so i do think it's a methodical, deliberate process that will take us closer to doing what we ought to do and that -- it does include updating this authorization for the use of military force against terrorist groups as that terrorist threat evolves. i commend the gentleman for his amendment and support it. the chair: the gentleman from massachusetts is recognized. mr. mcgovern: i would like to yield two minutes to the distinguished ranking member of the armed services committee, mr. smith. the chair: the gentleman from washington is recognized. mr. smith: thank you, mr. chairman. i want to followup on the committee chairman's rarblings, he is right, in 2011 and 2012 i was involved in the prosofse trying toup tate the aumf and have all the bruises and scars to show for it. it's a very difficult process. the main thing i want to accomplish in my minutes here is to explain to everybody why we have an update.
because there's a very clear reason. i'm not sure they're good reason bus they're very clear. everyone acts like, well, we just haven't done it, why are we twiddling our thumb the reason is, because, well, lawyers and how words are interpreted. as we went through and tied to word it exactly correctly and as we fwoshted with the senate, we discovered that basically no matter how you word it, two groups are going to oppose it for diametrically opposite reasons. one side will say it's too raw, gives the president way too much power for too long a period of time and gives him too open a hand. other groups will look at that exact same language and say, this unfairly restricts the president. it's going to make it more difficult. and you have these conversations those of us on the committee have with the pentagon as they're trying to figure out, i haven't had as many conversations with the current administration as the previous
but i talked at length about the obama administration about what they could do, where could they commit strikes? it was a lengthy process to go back and figure out if it was under the law allowed. if we change this, the lawyers on both sides are going to go bananas. saying that this new language proves you can't do that, or it's too broad. all that isn't to say we shouldn't do it. we should. but i want people to understand the difficulty of it and for our house to actually be willing, and the senate, to do the work we should do. don't kid yourself that this is something, well, gosh, we should just do it, it'll be easy, it's going to be really, really hard, it's going to take bipartisan, bicameral cooperation, but it is way pastime for taos do it. and yeah, when we do it, lawyers will interpret it, there will be some uncertainty. there's uncertainty now as they try to, as the chairman scribed, boot strap the 2001
aumf onto a bunch of other things. we have an obligation to do this. even if it is difficult. with that, i yield back. the chair: the gentleman from klahoma is recognized. mr. cole: thank you, mr. speaker. i want to commend the gentlemen for their approach to this. it's well known in this body that perhaps the house armed services committee is the most bipartisan committee we have. the fact that you've tried in the past and the fact that you're willing to work with us here today is deeply appreciated. i also want to thank my friend from massachusetts and associate myself with his frustrations. he he has every right to be frustrated. my friend from the -- the ranking member, is correct. this is a difficult job. it will require bipartisan cooperation and bicameral cooperation. but isn't that what war is about? to achieve a national consensus? i think that's exactly what secretary mattis was asking for. we will go do any mission that
you as the congress and the administration ask us to do. but give us a clear mission and give us your absolute support in carrying that through. if we have this debate, there will undoubtedly be dissenting views, that's what democracy is supposed to be about my friends who would oppose the use of force, for instance in afghanistan that voice ought to be heard that case ought to be made. frankly, those of us that are support i of what we're trying to accomplish against isis need to make our case and persuade the majority of this house and of the united states senate to move forward. so i take this as the first step on the road. likely friend -- like my friend, it's a baby step, i agree with the characterization, but it is a step this couldn't have happened without the cooperation of the leadership in the house, certainly without the thovep chairman and ranking member of the committee, but also couldn't have happened without the persistence of my friend from massachusetts and we have worked
together and believe me, that's unusual. we don't agrow on a lot of issue bus we respect one another and this is also a question of congressional authority. i think it's a profoundly important constitutional issue and i do believe we have inadvertently, buzz of the difficulty of the task, allowed war making power to slip away from us. that needs to stop. we're responsible to the american people, the constitution is very clear about where war making powers lies and frankly it ought to be difficult to go to war, it ought to command a lot of cooperation, it caught to be something worth setting aside our differences and work together, because we are asking men and women to risk their live, we're putting them in harm's way they deserve to know we are 100% supportive. with that i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman reserves. the gentleman from massachusetts is recognized. mr. mcgovern: i would like to yield three minutes to the gentleman from california, mr. schiff. the chair: the gentleman is
recognized. mr. schiff: i rise in support of the cole amendment. i think -- i thank the gentleman for yielding and i thank the gentleman from oklahoma for his work in pish pushing congress to have a debate on an aumf. i had offered an amendment as well to the defense bill along with mr. sanford and mr. moulton that would put in place a new consolidated aumf and i wanted to describe it. i know there's been considerable debate over whether this is the right bill for an amendment of this nature. but what we have tried to do in this language is avoid the red lines that both parties seem to have in this debate and as i perceive those red lines, my friends on the republican side of the aisle are reluctant to -- in what would be considered too restrictive a way, tie the hands of the commander in chief by putting limits on geography or the introduction of ground troops osm then democratic side we are resistant to the idea of giving the command for the chief too much of a blank check. the way we have sought to
navigate the distance between these two red lines is a resolution that would repeal the old authorizations which no longer really apply to our current situation, replace it with an authorization of use of force against al qaeda, isis, the taliban and their associated forces, it would place no geographic limits and no limits on the introduction of ground force, but it would have these necessary safeguards, first it would have a sunset date of three years so we don't again get to a 15-year period where we can't get a vote on an authorization and it goes on beyond its intended life. but it would also provide that if a president decided to introduce ground troops in a combat mission, a privileged motion would be in order that any member could trigger where within a discreet period of time set up by the war power act, you could compel a vote to either approve or modify or repeal the
existing authority. that would, of course, not prevent us from taking a vote at any other time but it would at least allow a vote. and some accountability. so i commend that for people's consideration as a way we might navigate the distance between the parties. and appreciate, again, my colleague from oklahoma's efforts to get us to weigh in and consider and live up to our constitutional responsibility, and with that, i yield back. the chair: the gentleman yields. the gentleman from oklahoma is recognized. mr. cole: thank you, mr. speaker. i want to advise my friend i'm prepared to close whenever he is s. mr. mcgovern: we were expecting a couple of other people, but they're not here, we'll close. mr. cole: i can talk about this for a long time. mr. mcgovern: and i always enjoy when you talk about these things. i yield myself the remaining time, again, to commend the
gentleman from oklahoma for this amendment. because i think it's important, it's important that we move forward, even if it is a small tep forward. as i said, there were amendments that were germane to this bill that should have been debated and many of us think they're long overdue. 16 years in afghanistan is an awful long time. and some of us fear that these wars are becoming endless. and they're essentially on automatic pilot. and we don't give the attention that i think is appropriate for what is happen, especially given the fact that so many brave men and women have their lives on the line on behalf of our country. but beyond that, this aumf in afghanistan that's now, you know, been going on for 16 years, is also been used to
justify what we're doing in syria. what we're doing in iraq, and somalia and i go on and on and on. this is ludicrous. and as the gentleman from oklahoma knows, before we began o get into syria, some of us tried to have a debate on an aumf in syria because we thought the time to debate an aumf, the time to debate military action actually should be before we get involved. because once we're involved, it's a lot harder to have these debates. and to raise the questions that are so important as to whether or not some of these interventions are actually the right thing to do. but we skirted this issue. and we continue to put this on the back burner. i have no- as i said, objection to this amendment, i support this amendment, i just think we're at a point where we
should be doing much more. we're much farther along. than to just require a report or to mandate hearings. i am concerned that after these reports and these hearings are done, then what? because the gentleman's amendment doesn't require that congress take up an aumf or that we actually have to have a vote in so many days or so many months. so i look forward to working with the gentleman to make sure that not only are these reports and these hearings conducted as we all want them to be, but to continue to press this leadership, to do the right thing, to not give away congress' constitutional responsibilities. is right for our country. there's only a small group of people who are directly impacted by these wars. and that's the men and women who are fighting and their families.
the rest of us are basically asked to do nothing. i think that congress i think congress has shirked this responsibility and we can't tolerate that. i hope there is a big strong bipartisan if not unanimous vote for the gentleman's amendment, but this is just the first tiny step in what we need to do and i promise him he has my cooperation and any efforts to get us to the point where we actually debate these wars and develop aumf's where people, as he said, can vote for them or against them. my view what we should be doing i know is very different from the gentleman from oklahoma's and perhaps even different from the gentleman from california, but that's the genius, the wonder of this place that we can all have different points of view and we can even differ, but at the end of the day the majority decides. so with that i urge my colleagues to vote for the cole amendment and i yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman yields. the gentleman from oklahoma is
recognized. mr. cole: thank you, mr. speaker. i yield myself the balance of the time. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. cole: thank you. i want to begin by associating myself very much with the remarks of my good friend from massachusetts. frankly, this is an area where we have found common ground because i think we both deeply revere this institution and frankly respect the constitution of the united states and when he says that we have shirked our duty, in my view, we have. i think it's absolutely a fair statement to make. i think the gentleman from washington is also correct, it's hard. this is a very complex, difficult kind of war, it's a new kind of war, it's enemies more ofing into different -- morphing into different forms and different places. all that is true, but it doesn't excuse us from the obligation to do our job and give the men and women the assurance they are acting at the direct request and order of the american people and fulfilling the responsibility we have asked them to take.
doesn't directly relate to this issue but i felt very much the same way my friend did and i know did at the time about libya. i mean, we stretched a nato alliance so far to get involved in a country where my view we should have nevada been involved but more important -- should have never been involved but more importantly didn't attack nato. it didn't make sense to use that instrument to justify a war. i aim this at no particular president, either our last one or current one, but frankly presidents don't like congress very much to tell them what to do. and they don't want to have to come down here and justify things. they just want to be able to do them. well, i'm sorry. the constitution is very clear about that. the thing we have a constitution is we didn't want to live under the system when it was under a monarchy as opposed to a presidency. it's our duty to keep a check on the extraordinary power we place in the hands of the chief
executive of the united states regardless who that person is, regardless of what party they represent. my friend makes a good point when he says, you know, sometimes, you know, we don't trust one another or, you know, we don't want to give the president too much power. we also don't want to take too much responsibility ourselves sometimes. for that we ought to look in the mirror. we ought to be willing to take that awesome responsibility that constitution entrusts us with and make the tough decisions that the american people sent us here to make. i actually think going through this process will be very good for this institution. now my friend is correct, it is a baby step and i share his frustration, but i also thing the current administration deserves a chance to be heard as to present a justification. not just inherent an ongoing conflict. and i think that the committee of jurisdiction, the foreign relations committee, deserves the opportunity to hear this. my friend expresses a concern which quite frankly i share
that we'll have a hearing and not much more. that would not be where we propose to end and i hope that's not where we end because i think at the end of the day whatever the deliberation is, whatever the recommendation for a new aumf is, it needs to come to this floor and it needs to be open for full debate. if we can't muster a majority to approve that, then we shouldn't be fighting in the places we're fighting. if we're not willing to actually vote and use it. so i'm going to pledge to continue to work with my friend , urge the amferings, assuming this actually gets in the final bill, urge the administration to take it as an opportunity to establish a very clear set of objectives, very clear strategy, very clear estimate of the budgetary cost and a very clear analysis of the legal framework under which they're operating. i think they and we owe that to
the country. we certainly owe it to the men and women that we've asked to go and do difficult things and risk their lives on our behalf. and they do it willingly. again, the secretary of defense said this would be helpful, this kind of debate would make difference. i think my friends for their cooperation in this, i think the chair and ranking member for allowing us to use this particular vehicle to express it. i thank the leadership of the house for being willing to grapple with this issue and i think my friend, again, from massachusetts for his persistent efforts. my friend from california, ms. lee, who also worked on this. a lot of people on our side of the aisle feel exactly the same way. this is the debate about the future of conflicts and this is the debate about the appropriate constitutional authority of the congress of the united states and a willingness by the members to embrace this. so it's actually i think a good day even though it's only the
first step in a long journey. with that, mr. speaker, i urge the adoption of the amendment and i yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman yields. the question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from oklahoma. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the ayes have it. he amendment is agreed to. it's now in order to consider amendment number 13 printed in house report 115-217. for what purpose does the gentleman from arizona seek recognition? mr. franks: mr. chairman, i have an amendment at the desk. the chair: the clerk will designate the amendment. the clerk: amendment number 13 printed in house report 115-217 offered by mr. franks of arizona. the chair: pursuant to house resolution 440, the gentleman from arizona, mr. franks, and a member opposed, each will control five minutes. the chair recognizes the
gentleman from arizona. mr. franks: well, thank you, mr. chairman. mr. chairman, it has been 15 years and 10 months since the attacks on september 11 which killed nearly 3,000 people and wounded nearly 6,000 others. since then america has fought five operations in eight countries, prosecuting wars against those responsible, their allies and sympathizers and the foundational ideology that fomented it. 5,400 american heroes have given the last full measure of devotion in service to their country to combat this vial enemy. and yet in spite of all this, there are those who continue to oppose any attempts to study the ideological roots of this enemy. there's commitment not to understand our enemies' motivations would be impressive if it weren't to harmful. as my friends across the aisle is eager to point out, this is
not a war which can be won by bullets and bombs alone. despite the peerless capability of our class, we cannot kill our way out of this problem. nor is this a war one which can be won by increasing the state department's budget for providing jobs programs for jihadists. it has to be noted by even the most intrang gents of those who would oppose my amendment today as so many of the young men who buy into this destructive movement who come from families who are more than comfortable financially. osama bin laden's family was not going hungry when he declared war on america twice. and many of the significant leaders of the various groups and factions are men with postdoctorate degrees in islamic studies. from some of those most press iegeous universities in the muzz -- prestigious universities in the muslim world. and yet we are heard from countless talking heads that men and women who carry out and
-- these terrible attacks and cry out in that moment when they detonate bombs in the midst of crowds of innocent men and women and children have nothing to do with islamist ideological. mr. speaker, to embrace that flagrant fall is i means we can never address this evil on a strategic level and our noble men and women in uniform will be force to combat it on a tactical level only. this present struggle against the vast majority of terrorism in the world is fundamentally one of ideas, and it will be won on the battlefield in the hearts and minds of human beings. now, mr. chairman, i know there are many brands of violent extremism and i eagerly would join my colleagues in any effort to combat them all. if the f.b.i. does not have enough resources to combat neo nazis or white supremacists, then i want to know about that and help. there is no desire in my heart
whatever to single out any group of innocent people or denigrate their faith in any way. however, the reality remains ere is one spectrum of islamist idea yoling whose variance are -- ideology whose variance are responsible for the 9/11 attacks, the countless attacks on civilians in europe and the battlist evil in the islamic state. there have been 1,034 islamic attacks in 49 countries in which more than 8,000 people have been killed and 8,000 more were injured. our allies across the world, including in the muslim world, have now begun to study and understand the ideology that foments islamist terrorism so they can begin to resist it on a strategic ideological level. if we in america do not also address this on a strategic level, this underlying ideology that catalyzes the evil of jihadist terrorism across the
world, then its list of victims will only grow longer. mr. chairman, my amendment will help us to categorize those perpetrating violence in the name of islam and help us to identify our allies within the muslim world who can assist in countering the islamist message of global jihad. those who would oppose this amendment choose to continue the status quo. that is to say no strategy at all. so mr. chairman, i would just implore the members of this body to pass this amendment and join this sincere effort in finally identifying our enemies, empowering our friends and ending this evil destructive ideology once and for all. with that, mr. chairman, i would reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman reserves. for what purpose does the gentleman from arizona seek recognition? >> mr. chairman, i rise in opposition to the amendment. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. >> mr. chairman, i yield myself such time as i may consume. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. >> mr. chairman, i rise -- mr. chairman, i am a marine, a marine corps infantry man.
some of the bravest men in my unit were muslims and served with the iraqis who risked their lives and endangered loved ones to help us. mr. gallego: they are fighting in iraq and afghanistan and they rely on the steadfast support of our muslim allies. that's why i find this amendment so troubling. when americans are deployed across the muslim world, the franks amendment will send exactly the wrong message to our friends and adversaries alike. by singling out a faith tradition for a strange and unprecedented study by our military, we're sending a dangerous signal to world that america is at war with islam. america is not ever going to be at war with a single religion. it is our task as members of congress who care about our military and about the american values that our service members risk their lives for to defend it and to reaffirm those values and we can do that by defeating
this misguided amendment. i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman reserves. the gentleman from arizona. mr. franks: how much time remains on this side? the chair: 15 seconds. mr. franks: well, mr. chairman, i would reserve. the chair: the gentleman reserves. the gentleman is recognized. mr. gallego: mr. chairman, i would like to yield one minute to the gentleman from minnesota, mr. ellison. the chair: the gentleman from minnesota is recognized. mr. ellison: mr. speaker, if the congress of the united states were to direct the department of defense to study and examine and scrutinize your religion, list leaders in their religion and teachers, to decide what was orthodox and unorthodox, you would be among, i don't know, the christian community, the jewish community, buddhist, hindu, and muslims. but only islam is selected out
in the franks amendment. only one religion is done. mr. speaker, you select out one religion for particular scrutiny, to scrutinize their doctrine, to declare what's orthodox and unorthodox and identify teachers of it, you have simply abridged the free exercise of that religion. that's unconstitutional. nobody is saying you can't study terrorism. you can study what motivates people to commit acts of terrorism. and we should. but we don't. not equally. the fact is, this amendment singled out one religious group, it's wrong and it should be oted down. the chair: the gentleman from arizona is recognized. mr. franks: i reserve. the chair: the gentleman from arizona is recognized. mr. gallego: i yield one minute
to ms. jayapal from the state of washington. ms. jayapal: i rise against this divisive amendment that is against the muslims of the country. let me remind my colleague from arizona that our country was founded on the principle of religious liberty and the first amendment guarantees that right. this amendment tramples on our constitution's separation of religion and state, singles out the muslim religion, its practices and leaders, and it does nothing to keep our nation safe. in fact, fear mongering undermines trust and national security and pits neighbor against neighbor, community against community and is an insult to our american muslim communities. this amendment doesn't apply its arbitrary surveillance equally because if it did it would measures against those
who bomb abortion clinics. this violate ours constitution and runs counter to who we are as a nation. frankly, it is horrifying and i urge my colleagues to resoundingly oppose it. i yield back. the chair: the gentleman from arizona is recognized. mr. franks: i reserve. the chair: the gentleman reserves. the gentleman from arizona is recognized. mr. gallego: i'd like to yield one minute to the gentleman from maryland, mr. raskin. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. raskin: i rise to oppose this amendment which requires the military to identify islamic schools of -- of thought and how they've been incorporated in terrorist mess abblinging. the problem is terrorists have used doctrines and concepts from every major religion on earth, not just muslim but christianity, judaism and others for homicidal purposes. because religion is based on faith and not reason, because
religious texts are not self-explanatory, good people will invoke scripture for good causes, evil people will invoke it for evil causes. we don't need a study to show us that. if we want to study the exploitation of religion for terrorism, let's study it universally. it not only vastly understates the problem but exacerbates the problem by fomenting the risk that religious fanaticism are unique to the charl tans and predators of islam when they're common to the charl tans and predators of every major religion. we do not single out particular religions for governmental inspection and suspicion under the first amendment. the chair: the gentleman from arizona is recognized. mr. franks: i would reserve. the chair: the gentleman reserves. the gentleman from arizona is recognized. mr. gallego: how much time is still available? the chair: the gentleman has 45 seconds.
mr. gallego: i yield myself 45 seconds, the remaining time. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. gallego: mr. chairman and my fellow members of congress, there's some commonality here, i remember this almost every weekend, i go to section 60 of arlington national cemetery to visit my friends who died in the war in iraq. every headstone there, you'll see a lot of different symbols of religion, whether it's the jewish star, the islamic symbol or the christian symbol or the nonbeliever, nonsymbols whatsoever, one thing they all have in common, they're all sharing the same ground, they're all sharing the same sacred ground of arlington national cemetery because they died for the same american values that american value says we will not ostracize somebody else for their religion, who they believe or don't believe. any steps toward that is dangerous. if we want to continue to reaffirm the values of those -- that those men and women have died for that are now in section
60, we need to defeat this amendment and do it because we know it's the right thing to do and it reaffirms those american values those men and women have died for. i aurge no vote on this amendment. the chair: the gentleman from arizona is recognized. mr. franks: i yield myself the remainder of the time. the chair: the gentleman is recognize. mr. franks: this amendment will allow us to identify the heroes in the muslim world who are working to counter the odious -- ogy which continues to which is used to ruin lives. with that, i yield back. the chair: the question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from arizona. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the ayes have it. the amendment -- mr. gallego: i command a recorded vote. the chair: pursuant to clause 6 action on further
the amendment by the gentleman from arizona will be postponed. it is now in order to consider amendment number 14 printed in house report 115-217. for what purpose does the gentlewoman from wyoming seek recognition? ms. chaney: i have an amendment at the desk made in order by the rule. the chair: the clerk will designate the amendment. the clerk: amendment number 14 printed in house report 115- 17, offered by ms. chaney of wyoming. the chair: pursuant to house resolution 440, the gentlewoman from wyoming, ms. chaney and a member opposed each will control five minutes. the chair recognizes the gentlewoman from wyoming. ms. chaythee -- ms. cheney: thank you, mr. speaker. rise to offer an amendment to prevent reduction of icbm's before 400 missiles. our level now is the basic level necessary to maintain a strong and effective deterrent.
our icbm's are a critical leg of our triad they provide our commanders with a responsive, flexible, survivable military response, ready 24-7, 365 days a year. our icbm leg of the triad also adds significantly to our deterrence capability by increasing the number of targets our adversaries must hold at risk. my amendment is a safeguard that prevents any unilateral disarmament that would leave our nation vulnerable to attack. my amendment does not impact our compliance with the treaty and does not change our current alert level or require the deployment of any additional icbm's at this point. the amendment reaffirms to our adversaries and allies that our nuclear deterrents will remain strong. with that, mr. chairman, i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentlewoman reserves. for what purpose does the gentleman from rhode island seek recognition? mr. langevin: i claim time in
opposition to the amendment. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. langevin: thank you, mr. chairman. yield myself such time as i may consume. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. langevin: thank you, mr. chairman. mr. chairman this amendment is simply not necessary, as it is a solution in search of a problem. the budget request for fiscal year 2018 has no funding for reducing the alert level or reducing the number of deployed icbm's below 400 and there are no plans to do so in the future. it also presupposes the completion of the nuclear posture review which is currently ongoing and is expected at the end of the year. instead of jumping the gun and acting precipitously we should allow the administration time to finish the review and base our actions on its findings. so this is particularly true because it may be that reducing the numb of icbm's and reducing the levels could be beneficial to enhance strategic stability. but preventing such a reduction also disregards the crucial and
fundamental role of our nation's submarine which is provide an assured survivable second strike capability in which adversaries thinking they can launch a disarming attack against the united states. icbm's can be seen as destabilizing in that they would force a rapid decision by the president and our use olose nuclear weapons. history has shown concerns about the potential for a rush decision in response to a false alarm none of us wish to see repeated. mr. chairman if we're going to talk about keeping icbm's, it should be done in a meaningful, informed discussion, based on the findings of nuclear posture review, instead of yet another annual amendment driven by what seems like a parochial interest which does not consider the other legs of nuclear deterrence. instead we should focus on increasing accountability and ensuring that we are improving the morale and culture inside
the air force with regard to nuclear weapons so that some of the serious and embarrassing problems that have plagued the icbm and security forces in recent years may be properly addressed. i urge my colleagues to oppose this amendment and i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman reserves. the gentlewoman is recognized. ms. chaney: there's nothing in my amendment that has any negative impact on our submarine fleetism support strongly, as does the ndaaa, the triad, as have administrations of both parties over many years. at this point i'd like to yield one minute to the distinguished strategic forces subcommittee chairman, my friend and colleague, the gentleman from alabama, mr. rogers. chip the gentleman is recognized. mr. rogers: i thank the gentlelady for yielding and for offering this amendment. a provision nearly identical to this has been in the final version of the last two ndaa's and it should be in the final version of this year's ndaa.
as chairman of strategic forces scommerk i understand that the responsiveness and distributive nation of our icbm's are the most critical features. without icbm's, an adversary would need to strike less than 10 targets to disarm our nuclear forces. but with icbm's, an adversary needs to strike hundreds of hardened targets deep in america's homeland. that is as -- a much more difficult proposition and is at the heart of our deterrence. during this con -- during his confirmation hearing, secretary of defense mattis agreed with the assessment noting, quote, the icbm force imposes a cost imposing strategy on our armed services, close quote. we should confirm this once more, it's vital our force remain robust and responsive. i urge a yes vote on this amendment and i yield back. the chair: the gentleman yields. the gentleman from roids is recognized. mr. langevin: how much time do i have remaining? the chair: two minutes.
mr. langevin: i'm pleased to yield two minutes to the distinguished ranking move the house armed services committee, mr. smith. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. smith: thank you, mr. chairman. this amendment basically unnecessarily ties the hands of our administration in terms of choosing how best to spend defense dollars. the gentlelady mentions that this does not say anything about reducing our submarine force or our bomber force. it does, however, lock in a certain amount of icbm's that we have to have and in that sense it does impact all other choices in terms of our defense policy, not just within the nuclear framework but within the nuclear framework there is, as i keep emphasizes and people keep resisting a finite amount of resources available to fund the department of defense. that's the central problem with this whole bill, as i mentioned. we don't have a budget resolution. this is $72 billion over the budget caps and the house has shown no willingness to vote to lift, so here we have $72 billion wer -- we are just kind
of hoping is going to be there. at some point we have to make some choices. i keep saying that, we keep deloying it -- delaying it, doing c.r.'s, shut down the government once, we continue to stumble forward with no clear plan. amendments like this are another example of how wellock in a lack of flexibility in terms of how we spend our money. what is the best approach to our national security? now it's been mentioned, i keep harping on the fact that we don't have national security plan yet and it's been mentioned, well presidents usually take a while to deliver them, ok, fine. we'll, you know, sometime in the next year hopefully get that plan. but amendments like this trap that plan. we strict the ability of the to the deal with a finite amount of resources to come up with what is the best approach and there are a lot of arguments that icbm's are not the best approach to nuclear deterrence. do we need an absolute fixed amount? i don't think so. i think we need greater flexibility, particularly was as we await the find ogs they have
nuclear posture review to figure out what our best strategy going forward is. we have all these little parochial pieces where we make sure the piece that is closest to us you can't touch that. we have to have exactly the same number. that is not in the best interest of a comprehensive, national security strategy. we need flexibility in this budget. we're not going to have as much money as everybody seems to think we're going to have. that's just a fact. $20 trillion in bet, running up deficits of $700 billion a year, we have the budget caps, at some point we're going to have to start making choices. so this amendment does not help in that. i'm sorry. an additional 15 seconds would be great. mr. smith: we are out of money and it's time to think. we are in fact running out of money. that is a winston churchill quote, by the way. but we aren't doing the thinking part on making choices on where we should and should not spend
our money. the chair: the gentleman yields. the gentlewoman from wyoming is recognized. ms. cheney: how much time do i have left? two minutes and 45 seconds. ms. cheney: i yield to the gentleman from nebraska. the chair: the gentleman from nebraska is recognized. mr. bacon: when i came in the air force in 1985, we have reduced our icbm force by 60%. 400 is the level and should not go below. this is america's force of last resort and peace through strength for united states and allies. every one of us in the house and millions of americans have lived and pros period in peace because we have made the conscious decision to keep a strong responsive and resilient nuclear deterrent. is is the largest and safest
hardware strategic forces. and we must preserve the long standing bipartisan consensus that icbm's be kept at a high level of alert. as we go to a new treaty level of 400, it is essential we go no longer. this is what the word means. i urge you to support this amendment and i yield back. the chair: the gentleman from rhode island is recognized. mr. langevin: thank you, mr. chairman. amendmentbefore, this does not address the three legs of nuclear try add. let's wait until the nuclear posture review is done and base it on facts and not on speculation. i urge my colleagues to oppose it and i yield back the balance of my time.
ms. cheney: thank you, mr. chairman. we have seen many misguided efforts to cut our strategic forces and to do so in a way that has been based on a notion weapons, reduce the our adversaries will do the same. we need to maintain the kind of deterrent that is necessary in a word where we are facing increasing threats. this depends on large part both upon the understanding of our will to use our forces as well as their belief in our capability and we shouldn't be reducing below a safe and secure number. in offering this amendment, our obligation as members of the house of representatives is to provide for the common defense and to ensure that while we are overseing activities by the executive branch, we are not allowing the irresponsible cuts that could put us at risk.
i urge the adoption of our amendment and i yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the question is on the amendment offered by the gentlewoman from wyoming. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the ayes have it. the amendment is agreed to. it is now in order tore consider amendment number 15 printed in house report 115-217. for what purpose does the gentleman from colorado seek recognition? >> i have an amendment at the desk. the clerk: amendment number 15 printed in house report 115-217 offered by mr. lamborn of cole. the chair: the gentleman from colorado, mr. lamborn and a member opposed will each control five minutes. mr. lamborn: i yield myself such time. the goal of this amendment giving the rising ballistic
threat from north korea and iran, we have a renewed urgency to make sure that the missile defense agency goes as fast and as far as possible. this amendment would normalize the operational test and evaluation process for ballistic missile defense system and treating it like every agency we have. this requires the secretary of defense himself to guarantee in advance a system will work before it can be bought. this is such a high bar, we don't use it anywhere else. under this amendment, we will have a robust, rigorous testing program without the secretary of defense needing to get personally involved. the detect of the pentagon's testing office would still be required by law to approve esting plans and annual lies
testing -- analyze results. congress will still have the power to stay know. n.d.a. would not have anything to prevent. let's do it the better job of protecting us from missile attacks. i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. for what purpose does -- the chair recognizes the gentleman from tennessee. >> i would like to speak in opposition to the amendment. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. >> i regret my good friend from colorado has offered this amendment. it was not voted on in subcommittee or in full committee. this should be rejected by this house and rejected overwhelmingly. why? we need to make sure our missile defense works. this is not a vote whether we are for or against missile defense.
i'm strong for missile defense. i want to make sure that it works. mr. cooper: in the national defense authorization act of 2015. the gentleman's amendment is not supported by missile defense agency and not supported by the pentagon. what it is is a vendor's dream. what it is is a defense contractor's dream because it will sell stuff to us, the erican taxpayer and citizens promiseing national defense but not proving it. we need to apply it before we buy it and test it before we invest in it. we need to make sure it works dough.we fork over the , this is allowed to be in this is an amazing breach of what i think has been american law for 150 years.
back during the civil war, there was a law passed called the lincoln law and so many americans were outraged that the bullets sold to the union soldiers did not work and the cannonballs didn't work and the boots didn't last in the rain, they passed one of the toughest laws passed by this congress to penalize defense contractors who sold us stuff that did not work. we need to make sure these missiles work. the threat from north korea is real. the threat from iran could be real. we need to make sure these missiles work and to short circuit, to obviate a testing requirement would be an appalling thing for us to do. it's working and has worked fine and the missile defense agency is all for it. let on keep it. if it ain't broke, don't fix it. that's not flown before we buy
it, oh, my gosh, i don't want to be on that side of the transaction. the gentleman is an outstanding member and he does great work and this wasn't voted on in subcommittee or full committee. it would be a mistake for the full house to support this amendment at this time. i would urge my colleagues to reject this amendment. and i keep the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from colorado is recognized. mr. lamborn: if there is any -- i e that there is no would like to yield two minutes to my friend and colleague, the chairman, mike rogers of alabama. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. rogers: i thank the gentleman for yielding. this committee has been trying to seek out and remove impedements to speedy acquisition for years. ection 1662 is such an
impedement. i don't understand why they let the secretary of defense from deploying capability. i do not agree that this will reduce oversight. the plain language of the amendment inserts ballistic missile defense systems into the existing title 10 testing requirement just like any other d.o.d. testing program. this is where the term fly before you buy. we receive another report from d.o.d. on the testing of ballistic missile defense and there is the integrator master program. and finally, the g.a.o. does a report also to help congress to oversee these programs.
how many reports do we need to do the same thing? especially when north korea is making progress on its ballistic missile capability. we should be removing impedements on the deployment of proven capabilities is a commonsense step. and i yield back and urge a yes vote. the chair: the gentleman from tennessee is recognized. mr. cooper: mr. chairman. this congress in 2015 passed the requirement because it made sense. institutional memory can be short. the m.d.a. is exempt from normal pentagon processes. no one in this body should think they are the 5,000 acquisition rules. what this amendment would do is to short circuit that process. and what member would want to admit to the constituency that they represent that they voted
to allow missiles to be purchased by this country before we knew they would work. the threat is real and we need to be prepared for that threat and we need defense missiles are worked. we have to shoot up four missiles and hope we can stop the one from coming over. we need things that work better than that. we need to make sure that this equipment that the taxpayer is buying functions. we have expedited the process, and if these missiles don't work, our missile defense doesn't work, we are in trouble. and the congress decided that the m.d.a. does not support this amendment. they have had a.m. will opportunity to come to us and want freedom. this house should want things that work. i urge my colleagues to support what works and oppose this amendment.
i reserve. the chair: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from colorado is recognized. mr. lamborn: how much time does ach side have? the chair: the gentleman from colorado has two minutes. the gentleman from tennessee has one minute and 15 seconds. the gentleman from colorado is recognized. mr. lamborn: as my colleagues note just one successful bliffle -- ballistic missile attack would carry an enormous cost of life and treasure. we are making some real progress in this bill to fund missile defense programs that have gone underfunded. what really worries me the most is i'm worried our nation won't be going fast enough to keep up with our add veer sears anymore. we need the authority and
responsibility to go faster. we have the greatest minds at the missile defense agency. they are motivated people that serve our country. we need to let them do our job outzated bureaucratic requirement is from defending ourselves from ballistic missile threats. i urge my colleagues to support this amendment which would free the agency to move faster to defend us from future threats. i reserve. the chair: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from tennessee is recognized. mr. cooper: my colleagues are tired of hearing these national defense authorization act amendments, but this one is really important. already the north koreans threatened the united states. other country could do so. we need to make sure our missile defense works and our constituents will not accept
excuses. if they can sell us something that is not proven to work, but this equipment must work. the m.d.a. is on board with the testing they have to do. the process now works. let's not change it. and this amendment would change it for the worse. it would be a defense contractors' dream. let's not cave in to the lobbyists and make sure the defense equipment we buy works. by stopping this amendment, we will do so. this amendment would be a give-away to the defense contracting industry. and i reserve the balance of my time. . the chair: the gentleman from colorado is recognized. mr. lamborn: i appreciate my colleague from tennessee, he's very sincere in what he says, i believe we have so many checks and balances we will not be buying things that done work, but we need to unshackle ndaa so they can get their job done
better than ever. i yield back my time. the chair: the gentleman yields. the gentleman from tennessee is recognized. mr. cooper: how much time do i have remaining? the chair: 15 seconds. mr. cooper: admiral sereling did not request this, let's follow his lead. i yield back. the chair: the question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from colorado. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the ayes have it. mr. cooper: i ask for a recorded vote. the chair: pursuant to clause 6 of rule 18, further proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentleman from colorado will be post-poned. for what purpose does the gentleman from texas seek recognition? >> pursuant to h.res. 440, i offer amendments en bloc. the chair: the clerk will designate the amendments en
bloc. the clerk: consisting of amendments number 2, 8, 9, 11, 25, 26, 1, 22, 23, 24, 33, 34, 9, 30, 31, 32, and 35, printed in house report 115-217, offered by mr. thornberry of texas. the chair: pursuant to house resolution 440, the gentleman from texas, mr. thornberry, and the gentleman from washington, mr. smith, will each control 10 minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from texas. mr. thornberry: thank you, mr. chairman. at this time i'm pleased to yield one minute to the distinguished gentleman from mr. a, a combat veteran, mass. the chair: the gentleman is ecognized. >> mr. speaker, i rise today
because veteran suicide is an epidemic. nearly every week i hear from a veteran who is thinking about taking their own life, maybe walking into their garage, turning on their car and never coming out. that's why i introduced the oath of exit and why i urge you to pass this bill as part of the national defense authorization act. the bill creates a voluntary separation oath for members of the armed forces with the specific aim of reducing veteran suicide and the idea for this bill came from friends of mine who have struggled with suicidal thoughts since leaving the military. mr. mast: people like my friend boone, people that have actually been there on the edge. i think we all know that throughout our lives, the most important commitments that we make are spoken, whether it's an oath upon joining the military, our vows at our wedding, our saying the pledge of allegiance and this verbal commitment to reach out to a brother or sister in arms is important as well.
mr. speaker, integrity is more than a word to a service member. so if we commit that we will reach out to a brother or sister because we need help, then we will do it. yield back. the chair: the gentleman from texas reserves. the gentleman from washington is is recognized. mr. smith: i yield to the gentlelady, mrs. watson coleman. the chair: the gentlelady is recognized. mrs. watson coleman: thank you, mr. smith, and thank you for including my amendment in the en bloc. among the amendments in this en bloc is one i author to address various challenges to the army national guard and army reserve sexual assault defense program. while sexual assault among our active duty forces has been a frequent topic of discussion, i rise to draw attention to the same issue that remains just as
prevalent within our reserve component forces. more than half a million members currently serve in the army guard and reserve. hundreds of incidents of sexual assault are reported each year and it is estimated that several hundred more go unreported. the reserve component of the army continue to suffer from imbalances for budget management and slow investigations that delay access to care for hundreds of sexual assault victims. my amendment directs the department of defense to take steps to address these issues. sexual violence is a criminal behavior and it has no place in our military. we must regain the trust of the service members who have been brave enough to come forward to report those crimes by bettering our military justice system. congress has a responsibility to protect the service members who make immeasurable sacrifices to serve and protect our country. we many u.s. -- we