Supporting Our Military and Fighting Additional Defense Cuts
As a Member of the House Armed Services Committee, Chairman of the Readiness Subcommittee, and Chairman of the Naval Academy Board of Visitors, it is an honor to support our men and women in uniform. Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution makes it clear that it is the duty of Congress “to provide for the common Defence…To raise and support Armies…and To provide and maintain a Navy…and To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval forces.” I oppose the use of tactics to hold military funding hostage for political gain, and I will continue to fight to ensure our all-volunteer Armed Forces are properly manned, trained and equipped to fight the war against terrorism and global emerging threats. Furthermore, I am committed making sure they are properly resourced with the support and care they need when they return home. The readiness of our military forces is degrading and it is my mission to avoid creating a hollow force that isn’t ready to face the emerging threats of the 21st century.
I am strongly opposed to further defense cuts. Defense budget cuts have totaled roughly $800 billion over the next 10 years and if you factor in full sequestration, the Gates efficiencies initiatives, cuts total over $1.3 trillion from the defense budget by 2022. These cuts will decimate and hollow out our force, putting the safety of our servicemembers in jeopardy. The world is not safer and we must invest in our national security and defense. We must prevent additional cuts to ensure that our men and women in uniform have the resources and tools they need to keep America safe. Congress must act now to reverse this disastrous and indiscriminate gutting of our nation’s defense. I also serve as the Co-Chair of the Congressional Shipbuilding Caucus where I am able to advocate for responsible shipbuilding budgets in Congress. We are a maritime nation. Our economy and our nation run on trade that is moved through the maritime domain. That domain must remain secure and protected. Virginia has a rich and robust history of in building ships for our Naval and commercial fleet. The shipbuilding industry is vital to our national defense, our industrial base, and our economy.
I support the rights and protections granted in our Constitution. I adamantly oppose any attempts to suspend or surpass habeas corpus, allow detention of American citizens without due process of law, or allow American citizens to be tried by military tribunals. We must continue to be vigilant about those who wish harm on our country, and should not encourage terrorists to travel to the U.S. for safe haven from prosecution.
Our all-volunteer force earns their benefits every day. Those benefits come with a job that is inherently dangerous and we should do everything in our power to support our Armed Forces and their families. I am against decreasing funding and reducing access to commissaries. I am against reducing Housing Allowances, which would increase out of pocket expenses for our service members.
Honoring our Veterans
I believe it is of the utmost importance to keep the promises that have been made to our veterans. I support legislation that provides concurrent receipt of both disability compensation and retirement benefits, and I am opposed to increases in TRICARE premiums or fees. I voted for legislation that blocked the Administration’s proposals to increase annual fees to TRICARE Prime and TRICARE Standard, and prevented the establishment of an annual TRICARE-for-Life fee. The claims backlog in VA Hospitals is unacceptable, and I will continue to work to see that our veterans have the care they deserve. I introduced legislation to ensure that the COLA reduction for working age military retirees was restored and urged the Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee to act to ensure the cut did not take effect in 2015. Finally, I worked to ensure that the COLA reduction was restored for all current retirees and supported legislation (S. 25) which was signed into law. I am vehemently opposed to changing any benefits for those that have served or are currently serving when it comes to retirement pay and allowances. With your vote, I would be honored to continue to fight for our veterans on these and other issues which affect them.