Summary: Today, Speaker Ryan discussed the funding bill Congress is preparing to strengthen our military and update it for the 21st century.
“We made very clear to the country, we made a promise to the country, that we would rebuild our military. Years of cuts and years of uncertainty have hollowed out our Armed Forces. You just heard the statistics. They’re glaring. Aging equipment, personnel shortages, training lapses, maintenance lapses—all of this has cost us. It has hurt us. Last year alone, we lost four times as many service members in accidents and training exercises as we did in combat. That is just unacceptable.
“We can’t keep asking our service members to go above and beyond when we are leaving them under-prepared and under-equipped for the fight. With this week’s critical funding bill, we will begin to reverse that damage. We will fully fund our national defense at the levels requested by the Pentagon, by Secretary Mattis. This will be the biggest increase in defense spending in 15 years. It will allow Secretary Mattis to increase our troop levels, to address our readiness shortfalls, and to upgrade our weapons systems. It will give him what he needs to implement our new national security strategy, and prepare us for new and evolving threats. It is so important. This is the biggest pay raise for our [service] members in eight years.
“I met a young woman on Thursday. She’s a lieutenant colonel in the Army. She’d done six combat tours. A friend of mine from Janesville is on his way to his seventh combat tour. This is what our service members are doing for us, and it’s high time we respond to them. Give them the pay raise that they have earned, over and over again. Give them the equipment they need so that they can do their jobs well and safely. And give them the resources so they can do the training that they need so when they’re actually in harm’s way, they are equipped.
“That’s what this bill does. This bill will obviously do a lot else, but this is really about how we build a 21st century military. We have 21st century threats, and our men and women in uniform need to be equipped and prepared to deal with these threats.
“So I want to thank these members of the Armed Services Committee for their leadership. I want to thank the members of the Appropriations Committee as they work to finalize this legislation. This is going to mark a beginning of a new era for our nation’s military. And it’s high time we do that.”