By Congressman Markwayne Mullin
“While nothing can compare to the heartache caused by the loss of our troops during these wars, no enemy in the field has done more to harm the combat readiness of our military than sequestration,” said Secretary of Defense General Mattis as he testified in front of the House Armed Services Committee this week. In a hearing about our national defense strategy, Mattis made the case to Congress that funding our government by Continuing Resolution is the military’s greatest enemy. Congress’ choice to pass only Continuing Resolutions means that we have planes that cannot fly, ships that cannot sail, and soldiers who cannot deploy. Our military is in dire need of rebuilding—all because of sequestration.
Early Friday morning, the House took a vote to continue government operations and most importantly, end the ill effects of an underfunded military due to years of sequestration. The two-year budget agreement will equip our troops with funding at levels set by the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year 2018, which was signed into law by President Trump last December.
I voted in favor of the budget agreement—not because I liked everything that was in the bill—but because I could not turn my back on our men and women in uniform. I voted in favor of the budget agreement after our President and Commander in Chief and General Mattis asked me and my colleagues to do so in the name of finally putting an end to the damaging effects of sequestration on our military.
Budget agreements are often imperfect. In order to pass the House, the Senate, and be signed into law by the president, there is always give and take. Even with a Republican-controlled House, Senate, and White House, we cannot fund government alone. In the Senate, any budget agreement needs 60 votes. With only 51 Republicans in the Senate, there must be negotiation and ultimately, some compromise.
There is so much uncertainty around the world as we face an increasing number of national security risks and threats daily. As a Member of Congress, it is my duty to fully support our troops who defend the rights of all Americans. To vote against providing our military with the resources it so desperately needs would be neglecting my obligation as a Member of Congress and my own personal belief as a steadfast supporter of our armed forces.
After signing the bill into law, President Trump tweeted: “Our Military will now be stronger than ever before. We love and need our Military and gave them everything — and more. First time this has happened in a long time.” It has been too long since our military had everything they need to be successful. My vote for this bipartisan agreement reflects my unwavering commitment to support the men and women of our armed forces who put their lives on the line to protect ours.