For Immediate Release - Wednesday, June 21, 2006
Contact - Stephanie DuBois, (202) 225-5456
Legislation funds vital defense programs, prohibits funds for NSPS
(Washington, D.C.) - Last night, First District Congressman Jeb Bradley voted the for fiscal year 2007 Defense Appropriations Act, which funds essential programs that train, equip and support our troops defending our country at home and abroad. H.R. 5631, which passed the House of Representatives with overwhelming support by a vote of 407 to 19, provides $427.6 billion in funding for research, development and procurement of our nation's defense systems, operations and maintenance, and military personnel.
"For our troops to do their jobs effectively and safely, we owe it to them to provide them with the best training and equipment possible, which this bill does," stated Bradley, a member of the House Armed Services Committee. "This legislation also reflects our continued commitment to improving benefits for service members by providing a 2.2 percent pay raise for next year and by increasing funding over the President's request for the equipment needs of the Army National Guard."
Bradley also spoke on the House floor last night in support of an amendment offered by Reps. Jay Inslee (D-Wash.) and Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) that would block funds for parts of the National Security Personnel System (NSPS) that have been declared illegal by a recent court decision. Earlier this year, a U.S. Federal District Court judge ruled that NSPS, a new personnel system proposed by the Department of Defense, failed to "ensure even minimal collective bargaining rights." The amendment passed by a voice vote and was incorporated into the final bill.
Bradley stated on the floor last night, "For the thousands of federal workers at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, the NSPS regulations as proposed would have a damaging effect. The shipyard's unique labor-management relationship has created tremendous efficiencies and progress, making it a model for good government. This progress and this relationship could be lost under the NSPS program. Under the broad and rigid centralized NSPS regime, the flexibility that has led to some of our government's best practices and most successful entities would be impossible."
Highlights of the Defense Appropriations Act include:
- Funds the 2.2 percent military pay raise and end strength requirements.
- Appropriates $50 billion in emergency funding for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, which includes $1.5 billion for programs to counter improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and $5.6 billion for equipment replacements due to losses and degradation.
- Includes funding for to produce four ships, including one Virginia class submarine, one T-AKE ammunition ship, one LHA(r) amphibious assault ship, and two Littoral Combat ships.
- Provides funding for the purchase of 20 F/A-22 aircraft and research and development of the Joint Strike Fighter program.
Once the Senate passes its own version of the bill, the two chambers then must reconcile their differing bills in a conference committee before the legislation goes to President Bush for his signature.
Editor's note: Video from Bradley's floor speech on NSPS is available on his website: http://www.house.gov/bradley/multimedia.html. Please contact Stephanie DuBois if you would like the text of his speech sent to you.