Rep. Russell Votes to End Years of Devastation to Our Military
Washington, DC – Rep. Steve Russell (OK-5) today voted for the Bipartisan Budget Act, a move which garnered praise from House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry. “As a combat veteran, Mr. Russell understands the critical need to properly fund our military as our nation fights terrorists around the world.” said Thornberry. “This bill provides much needed resources and budget certainty for our military. As Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, I greatly value the experience and expertise Steve brings to the committee. Our men and women in uniform know he stands by them with his vote today.”
In recent days, Defense Secretary Mattis has made it abundantly clear to Congress that passing this budget was of paramount importance to our nation’s national security. “Failure to modernize our military risks leaving us with a force that could dominate the last war but be irrelevant to tomorrow’s security,” Mattis testified before the House Armed Services Committee earlier this week. “We need Congress to lift the defense spending caps and support a budget for our military…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 combined 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…To carry out the strategy you rightly directed we develop, we need you to pass a budget now. If we are to sustain our military’s primacy, we need to budget predictably. I know many want to avoid additional spending, but Congress must take action now to ensure our military lethality is sufficient to defend our way of life, preserve the prosperity our country enjoys, and pass on the freedoms we enjoy to the next generation. I ask that you not let disagreements on domestic policy continue to hold our nation’s defense hostage.”
This legislation finally corrects our broken budget process and fully funds our military so our troops get the resources they need to do their jobs. It frees our military from harmful spending caps and the destructive practice of funding our troops with stopgap spending bills. It raises defense spending for two years, providing much needed certainty for our armed forces and for efficient military planning, execution, and oversight.
Russell commented on his support for this legislation, stating: “Despite every attempt of Nancy Pelosi to stop this bill, it was essential for our military to get it passed. One of the most devastating things that has ever happened to our armed forces is sequestration, which has eroded our military costing us lives and treasure. This difficult but necessary legislation fixes fatal flaws in our budget process which can be traced back to the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, freeing our military from the stranglehold of budgetary uncertainty. As painful as this has been, sometimes cutting deeper into a wound is the only way it can be cleaned out and healed.” said Russell. “After protecting our individual liberties in our Bill of Rights, the most fundamental obligation that the Congress has to the American people, as written in our Constitution, is to provide for the national defense of the United States. The succession of stopgap spending bills that we’ve seen in recent years not only run counter to that obligation, but seriously jeopardize the readiness of our armed forces. It has also created spending disasters that have led to wasteful domestic trade-offs to pay for our military. This finally ends these devastating practices. It’s time to give our military the stability that it needs to succeed. This bill funds our military, equips our troops, and ensures that our defense capabilities remain second to no other nation.”