Accordingly the House resolved itself into the Committee of the Whole House on the State of the Union for the further consideration of the bill (H.R. 1119) to authorize appropriations for fiscal years 1998 and 1999 for military activities of the Department of Defense, to prescribe military personnel strengths for fiscal years 1998 and 1999, and for other purposes, with Mr. Young of Florida in the chair.
The Clerk read the title of the bill.
The CHAIRMAN. When the Committee of the Whole rose on Thursday, June 19, 1997, amendment No. 5, printed in part 1 of House Report 105-137, offered by the gentleman from Connecticut [Mr. Shays], had been disposed of.
It is now in order to consider amendment No. 6, printed in part 1 of House Report 105-137.
Mr. LUTHER. Mr. Chairman, I offer an amendment.
The CHAIRMAN. The Clerk will designate the amendment.
The text of the amendment is as follows:
Amendment No. 6 offered by Mr. Luther:
At the end of title I (page 23, before line 7), insert the following new section:
SEC. 123. TERMINATION OF NEW PRODUCTION OF TRIDENT II (D-5) MISSILES.
(a) Production Termination: Funds appropriated for the Department of Defense for fiscal years after fiscal year 1997 may not be obligated or expended to commence production of additional Trident II (D-5) missiles.
(b) Authorized Scope of Trident II (D-5) Program: Amounts appropriated for the Department of Defense may be expended for the Trident II (D-5) missile program only for the completion of production of those Trident II (D-5) missiles which were commenced with funds appropriated for a fiscal year before fiscal year 1998.
(c) Funding Reduction: The amount provided in section 102 for weapons procurement for the Navy is hereby reduced by $342,000,000.
The CHAIRMAN. Pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from Minnesota [Mr. Luther] and a Member opposed, the gentleman from California [Mr. Hunter] each will control 15 minutes.
The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Minnesota [Mr. Luther].
Mr. LUTHER. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
Mr. Chairman, Members of the House, I am pleased today to join with my fellow Minnesotan [Mr. Ramstad] in offering this bipartisan amendment to the fiscal year 1998 defense authorization bill to terminate further production of the Trident D-5 submarine launched ballistic missile.
The Trident D-5 is a ballistic missile with a range of more than 4,000 nautical miles. Each is capable of carrying up to 8 independently targetable nuclear warheads at speeds in excess of 13,000 miles per hour. The U.S. Navy currently operates a force of 17 Ohio-class fleet ballistic missile submarines with an eighteenth boat scheduled to join the force later this summer. Eight of these submarines, homeported at Bangor, WA, carry the older C-4 missile system. The other 9 Ohio-class subs and the new sub being deployed this year are homeported at Kings Bay, GA, and carry the new Trident D-5 missile system. Each submarine carries 24 missiles.
In order to comply with the START II Treaty, the Navy is planning to retire four of the older subs carrying the C-4 missiles, but the Navy is currently planning to back-fit the other four with the new D-5 missiles. Although the Navy has already an inventory of 350 D-5 missiles, it nevertheless plans to procure an additional 84 Trident D-5's through the year 2005, unless Congress intercedes.
We believe the responsible course is for our Navy to cancel the proposed back-fit of the older C-4 subs and, over time, reduce its fleet of Ohio-class submarines to 10 vessels. With a fleet of 10 Ohio-class submarines carrying the new D-5 missiles, the Navy will no longer need the additional 84 missiles they have requested through fiscal year 2005. The current inventory of 350 missiles will be sufficient, 240 for the 10 Trident D-5 subs and 110 for testing purposes.
There are very important reasons why this amendment should be approved by the House of Representatives. The Trident D-5 missile is a cold war weapon specifically designed to destroy hardened missile silos and other military targets found in the former Soviet Union. But today the nuclear threat from the former Soviet Union is dramatically reduced.
While there is still an important role for strategic nuclear weapons in our arsenal, that role is dramatically reduced from what it was in the past, and weapon procurement should reflect that.
The Congressional Budget Office estimates that this amendment would save taxpayers with this act this year and with future subsequent acts more than $5.7 billion over 10 years, including $342 million in fiscal year 1998. This savings would then be available for personnel readiness and military training purposes or to reduce the deficit.
Members of the House, the United States has an unchallenged world lead in the area of submarine-launched ballistic missiles. Only Russia, China, France, and Great Britain have this capability. China has just one submarine with 12 ballistic missiles, and the Russian fleet is outmoded and largely rusting away in port. A fully modernized fleet of 10 Ohio-class subs carrying Trident D-5 missiles will continue our leadership in this critical area of strategic defense.
Balancing the budget requires continuing scrutiny of every dollar the Government spends. We need to maintain a strong military and an absolutely credible nuclear deterrent force, but we must maintain that defense while keeping in mind the realistic threats facing our country. A 10 Trident submarine fleet, carrying the new D-5 missile, is enough to secure our interests. And saving over $5.7 billion by canceling the production of more D-5 missiles will make it much easier to balance the budget in the year 2002.
I ask that we think about the way we think about military spending. Times have changed, and I hope this amendment that the gentleman from Minnesota [Mr. Ramstad] and I are proposing will help move us into the future.
I urge my colleagues to join taxpayers for common sense in support of this bipartisan amendment.
Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.
Mr. HUNTER. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
Mr. Chairman, I have great respect for both proponents of this amendment, but I have to tell my colleagues that this amendment is not grounded in common sense, for a couple of reasons. There are a lot of things with respect to arms control that we disagree with, conservatives, liberals, Democrats, Republicans, arms control proponents, and people who are very skeptical of the arms control process.
But there are certain cornerstones of our deterrent force and our overall strategy of deterrents that we all agree on. When I say, `we all agree on,' I am speaking of not only of the majority in the Congress but also the President of the United States, whether he is a Democrat or Republican, and his respective military leaders in the Pentagon.
I have a lot of disagreements with President Clinton on security, but this is not one of them. The President, and I have several letters, one from his CNO and one from his director of the Commander in Chief, the U.S. Strategic Command, President Clinton does not want to see our strategic force, and the most important part of our triad, which is our submarine force, upon which we are going to rely for 50 percent of our deterrent counterstrike force under START II, he does not want to see that force reduced, and especially to reduce it unilaterally.
So let us review the bidding here. We have three legs of the triad. We have our missiles based on land. We have our bomber force. But the most survivable forces of our triad, our deterrent system that has worked for so many years, is undersea. It is difficult to target. It is difficult to preempt. And that deterrent force will become more and more important under START II if the Russians ever approve START II.
Now here is what my colleagues should reflect upon: START II has not yet been approved by the Russian Duma. Our friends who are offering this amendment are proposing to cut back on the number of ballistic missile submarines, in anticipation that at some point in the future there will be a START III and the Russians will give us reciprocity on this cut and will somehow come through with cuts of their own.
That is a very dangerous thing to do. Let us leave all the chips on the side of our negotiators so that, as we work down our strategic forces, they give a chip, we give a chip, they give a chip, we give a chip, and we still guard or act to detour not only the Russians but others who are now developing nuclear systems around the world.
And there are others developing those systems. The Chinese, for example, are not a part of the START II agreements. They are developing nuclear systems aimed at American cities. So it is a very dangerous thing to try to get a jump-start on arms negotiations and start unilaterally to pull down our strategic forces, especially the underwater part of our strategic forces.
All of our military experts, the White House leadership, the Pentagon, and the majority in Congress, agree the undersea part of our ballistic missile submarines are the most survivable part of our triad. And to do away with the large portion of those in anticipation of some future concession on the part of our negotiating partners makes no sense.
Mr. Chairman, I yield to my friend, the gentleman from Washington [Mr. Dicks].
(Mr. DICKS asked and was given permission to revise and extend his remarks.)
Mr. DICKS. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman for yielding me the time, and I rise in opposition to the Luther amendment and in support of the committee's position on this.
One of the problems here is that we have a missile on these older Tridents. The Pacific Tridents were built first. And the older missile, the C-4 missile, has a lifetime up to about 2004. Then, if we do not build the D-5 and replace the C-4's with the D-5's, we are going to have to go out and spend billions of dollars to fix up the C-4 missile.
In fact, I have been told that that course is more expensive than buying the newer, more capable missiles. So why would we not want to retrofit? The other problem is, if we have two missiles, then we have to have two infrastructures for the missiles, the D-5's. And if we can go to an all D-5 force, than we can have one missile, one set of repair parts, and it is actually, in terms of ownership, less expensive.
I would agree with my friend from California [Mr. Hunter] that until we see what happens in the START talks, we would, in my judgment, be premature to go even from 18 to 14 in terms of the number of submarines that we have. And the D-5 program is in place. We should buy these missiles now while the line is open. We need to keep this open until we see whether, in fact, we are going to get an arms control agreement.
To cut it off now would be premature and we would have a situation where the submarines in the Atlantic have D-5's and none of the submarines in the Pacific would. The D-5 is a more capable missile, and we need to have that capability, in my judgment, in both oceans.
So I understand the intent here to try to save some money. We all want to save money. But there is a lot more to this, and it goes right to the security of the country. The D-5 and the Trident submarine are the most survivable part of our triad. I think until we get these arms control agreements in place we should stay with this program, support the administration, who strongly is committed to keeping the D-5 program going.
Mr. HUNTER. Mr. Chairman, I yield as much time as he may consume to my friend, the gentleman from Utah [Mr. Hansen].
Mr. HANSEN. Mr. Chairman, I appreciate my friend from California, Mr. Hunter yielding me the time.
Mr. Chairman, here we go again. It seems like we always go through this every year or so on what to do with the D-5. I think the point has been made, and made very well, that as we finally had the cold war come to an end, the thing that did it was the triad system, or the system where we figured out how we were going to handle this problem.
We had the aircraft, and we looked at the old B-52, which is a very, very old airplane, came out with the B-1 and now the B-2. We got the land-based missiles, and now we are going to take the MX and take it out of the silos and all we will have is the Minuteman III.
But the ace in the hole, all this comes down to, is the D-5. I think most people, when they look at this, find out that if you can take a boat and hide it somewhere and just sit it somewhere, fine. But I still recall, when Les Aspin was the chairman of the committee, bringing in some admirals and generals from the old Soviet Union, as it was then constituted, and talked about how difficult it was to stay up with the modernization of the United States. And the key to this whole thing is modernization. C-4 has been a reliable missile, but it is the D-5 that now gives us the ace in the hole.
It would seem to me that now we have the opportunity to finish out all 14 boats, get them up to this very, very accurate missile, a missile with more range, a missile that can do the job that gives us that deciding edge that we finally won with the Soviet Union years ago. It would be very foolish, in my humble opinion, to do away with it. It also puts our negotiators in a very bad position when we have Congress micromanaging what they are going to do and what type of armament they would use.
I have great respect for my friend from Minnesota, but in my humble opinion, it would be a smart thing to defeat this amendment and go ahead with the production of the D-5.
Mr. LUTHER. Mr. Chairman, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from Minnesota [Mr. Ramstad], cosponsor of the amendment.
(Mr. RAMSTAD asked and was given permission to revise and extend his remarks.)
Mr. RAMSTAD. Mr. Chairman, I thank my colleague for yielding me this time.
Mr. Chairman, I rise today in strong support of the Ramstad amendment to terminate further production of the Trident D-5 submarine launched ballistic missile. As we continue our efforts here to balance the budget and reduce the Federal debt, each and every Government program, including defense, must be scrutinized for potential savings. The further production of the Trident D-5 missile is one such program.
We already have over 350 Trident D-5's in service. At a cost of over $50 million each, we simply cannot afford to continue increasing the size of this missile force, nor do we need to, as our missile capability is more than adequate. By ending production of this missile, we will save taxpayers $5.7 billion over the next 10 years, without sacrificing our national security.
We must all strongly support the need for a strong national defense. But, at the same time, we cannot continue to fund programs that excessively spend scarce resources.
Mr. Chairman, let me read from this letter from Taxpayers for Common Sense:
As the United States moves to a balanced budget, it is unacceptable for taxpayers to finance an outdated missile program originally designed to counter Cold War threats. With 350 D-5 missiles already in service, the U.S. Navy is well-equipped, making further D-5 purchases unnecessary. Only a select few nations possess SLBM capabilities. The United States already leads the world in this area, with 4 other nations, Russia, China, France and Great Britain, all trailing in the distance. To the extent that the SLBM remains a viable strategic weapon in the redefined global arena, the United States possesses an adequate deterrent capability.
Let us save the taxpayer $5.7 billion. Please vote for this amendment.
Mr. Chairman, I include for the Record the letter from Jill Lancelot from Taxpayers for Common Sense:
Taxpayers for Common $ense,
June 19, 1997.
Dear Representatives Luther and Ramstad: Taxpayers for Common $ense is pleased to support the Luther-Ramstad amendment to the FY98 Defense Authorization Bill to end further procurement of the D-5 submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) and deactivate eight Trident submarines currently equipped with an older missile system. This amendment would both eliminate future purchases of a weapon costing $50 million per missile and cancel the backfitting of submarines with older missile systems, leading to ultimate savings of $5.7 billion.
As the United States moves to a balanced budget, it is unacceptable for taxpayers to finance an outdated missile program originally designed to counter Cold War threats. With 350D-5 missiles currently in service, the U.S. Navy is more than well-equipped, making further D-5 purchases unnecessary. Only a select few nations possess SLBM capabilities. The U.S. already leads the world in this area, with four other nations, Russia, China, France and Great Britain, all trailing in the distance. To the extent that the SLBM still remains a viable strategic weapon in the redefined global arena, the U.S. possesses an adequate deterrent capability.
To ensure that we achieve the goal of a balanced budget, Congress must make difficult decisions regarding each and every dollar. Your amendment represents a sensible balance between sound defense policy and sound budget policy.
Mr. HUNTER. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself 1 1/2 minutes to respond briefly to the gentleman from Minnesota.
Mr. Chairman, the gentleman from Minnesota cited a taxpayer group and their decision, their unilateral decision to disarm approximately one-third of America's most important leg of the strategic triad on the basis that they think it is a good deal and it makes sense. I might remind my colleagues that of all of the hundreds of arms control experts and military experts and deterrent experts that we rely on, including our scientists and our policy-makers, whether they are liberal, conservative, Democrat, Republican, in the administration or in the Congress, none of those people have been cited as justifying or backing up this unilateral decision to jump start or prejump the negotiators by sacrificing one-third of our underwater deterrent. No experts have been cited. It just looks like it is a good deal for a taxpayers group.
I would suggest that the reason this defense budget today is $140 billion less than the defense budget in 1985 is because we were strong, and we built lots of Tridents and we put them in the water. That brought the Russians to the negotiating table. The Russians were never brought to the negotiating table by us making unilateral concessions. They were brought to the negotiating table by us being strong and then doing one for one, under Ronald Reagan and George Bush and now under Bill Clinton. That means they give a chip, we give a chip. We do not unilaterally pull the rug out from under our negotiators by giving up big pieces of our triad.
Mr. Chairman, I yield 1 minute to the gentleman from Washington [Mr. Dicks].
Mr. DICKS. Mr. Chairman, in fact I think Secretary Longuemare makes a good point in support of what the gentleman just said:
Delaying the backfit of 4 SSBNs with D-5 missiles sends the wrong message to Russia. It removes Russia's incentive to ratify START II in a timely manner and begin START III negotiations as agreed in Helsinki.
I have to agree. I think this would send the wrong message. If we are going to bring down the strategic forces, we want to bring them down on both sides.
I also would take some umbrage about the status of the Russian Navy. As the ranking Democrat on the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and someone who has served 19 years on defense appropriations, this is one area in the submarine area where the Russians are still making significant investments. I would not characterize their submarine capabilities as defective or weak. They have very capable submarines, particularly in the attack area.
Mr. LUTHER. Mr. Chairman, I yield 2 minutes to the gentlewoman from Michigan [Ms. Rivers].
Ms. RIVERS. Mr. Chairman, in the past Members of Congress were oftentimes reluctant to propose decreases in defense spending. Those who had the temerity to suggest that we cut the spending that we do for the military or in areas of weaponry could pretty much expect to see a 30-second ad attacking their courage, their character, and their patriotism.
Things are changing here in Washington. This is a new Congress and it is a new era. No longer do we have programs that are immune from scrutiny. No longer do we not look at how we spend taxpayers' dollars. Every dollar spent must be justified.
I join the gentleman from Minnesota in supporting their proposal to strip the unnecessary and ultimately wasteful proposal within this Department of Defense budget to continue production of Trident D-5 missiles, and in doing so, to save the American taxpayer $5.7 billion. Thomas Jefferson said many, many, many years ago:
Sound principles will not justify our taxing the industry of our fellow citizen to accumulate treasure for wars to happen we know not when and which might not ever happen but from the temptation offered by that treasure.
I think that is still true today. With this amendment, we are not hurting our capability to wage war in the future should that become necessary. Even if we choose to retire our aging vessels, we are left with 10 modern submarines equipped with 240 D-5 missiles. More appropriately we have the appropriate number left behind for testing and replacement and we will save the public $5.7 billion.
This DOD proposal is a poor use of resources. By eliminating the backfitting of the C-4 subs, we will stop what is essentially a plan to put old wine in new bottles. The C-4 subs are too old to have a lot of service life left in them and they are likely to be eliminated as has been suggested by START II. But even if we keep the C-4's, a 1992 DOD study said that the current C-4 missiles would last until 2015. This proposal in no way will do what others have suggested, that we are stripping some of our submarines of arms. The internal documents of the Department of Defense suggest that that is just not true.
I support this cut. I hope others will as well. I think they should stand up for the principle here and feel secure in their patriotism because Calvin Coolidge once said, `Patriotism is easy to understand in America. It means looking out for yourself by looking out for your country.'
This amendment is good for our country.
Mr. HUNTER. Mr. Chairman, I yield 1 minute to the gentleman from Connecticut [Mr. Gejdenson].
Mr. GEJDENSON. Mr. Chairman, I want to join my colleagues, the gentleman from California [Mr. Hunter] and the gentleman from Washington [Mr. Dicks], and others, in opposing the amendment. I know the amendment is genuinely offered. I was an opponent of the D-5 missile at the beginning of the program because frankly I felt the original missile was adequate. The reality, however, is that the argument that the gentleman from Washington [Mr. Dicks] makes about a unified system without the complexities and costs of supporting two missiles in the same operation really has to win the day here. There was a time when I thought we could have done without the D-5 missile. But now as we have moved to a point where it is the dominant system out there and we need to make sure we complete that work here today because of the effect overall on the cost of maintenance, supply, of training, it adds a complication to a smaller Navy that frankly is bothersome and frankly is something that we cannot afford to do.
I would join my colleagues in opposing the amendment.
Mr. LUTHER. Mr. Chairman, I yield 3 minutes to the gentlewoman from California [Ms. Woolsey].
(Ms. WOOLSEY asked and was given permission to revise and extend her remarks.)
Ms. WOOLSEY. Mr. Chairman, I am especially pleased to speak on behalf of this amendment because it represents a cause that I have taken up in the past. I thank the gentleman from Minnesota [Mr. Luther] and the gentleman from Minnesota [Mr. Ramstad] for bringing it back to the floor yet again.
Mr. Chairman, the issue here is simple. We no longer need the Trident D-5 missile to defend our country. This missile was designed specifically to counter the threat of the Soviet Union, a threat which no longer exists. Under this amendment, Mr. Chairman, the United States will retain its current inventory of Trident D-5 missiles and submarines. All this amendment will do is stop further production of this costly missile, saving Americans $342 million next year and saving over 10 years $5.7 billion.
Mr. Chairman, we should be reducing our nuclear stockpile, not building it up. Stopping production of the Trident will send a clear message that the United States is truly committed to a nuclear nonproliferation policy.
Mr. Chairman, let us not fool ourselves. Production of the Trident missile is the equivalent of flushing $5.7 billion down the toilet over the next 10 years when we should actually be funding programs that we truly need, such as education, job training, health care, and environmental protection.
The cold war is history, Mr. Chairman. I urge my colleagues to join me in closing this chapter of the history book by supporting the Luther-Ramstad amendment.
Mr. LUTHER. Mr. Chairman, I yield 1 minute to the gentlewoman from Oregon [Ms. Furse].
Ms. FURSE. Mr. Chairman, I rise in support of the Luther-Ramstad amendment. We can safely reduce our fleet of Trident submarines to 10 and that will make us save $344 million. I would say that nuclear weapons are becoming obsolete, but that is not important. What is important is what the experts say. This last December, 60 generals and admirals, including Gen. Lee Butler, who was the former Commander of the U.S. Strategic Air Command, called for the eventual elimination of nuclear weapons.
General Butler's statement reads in part: `With the end of the cold war, these weapons are of sharply reduced utility, and there is much to be gained by substantially reducing their numbers.' He went on to say, `We should explore the feasibility of their ultimate complete elimination.'
Obviously, we should not be putting in new nuclear weapons. What do the American people say? In an April poll, 77 percent of those questioned favored the elimination of all nuclear weapons.
Mr. LUTHER. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself the balance of my time.
The CHAIRMAN. The gentleman from Minnesota is recognized for 3 1/2 minutes.
Mr. LUTHER. Mr. Chairman, I want to first of all express my thanks to the gentleman from South Carolina [Mr. Spence], the chairman of the committee; the gentleman from California [Mr. Dellums], the ranking member; and the gentleman from Washington [Mr. Dicks] for their consideration. Also, I want to thank the gentleman from Minnesota [Mr. Ramstad] and all of the other speakers who spoke so eloquently on behalf of this amendment.
Before we move to a vote on this issue, I would like to leave just a couple of thoughts with the Members of the House. First of all, please keep in mind that unlike the B-2 bomber, the D-5 missile is not a dual-use weapons system. There is no conventional warfare role for the D-5. Its sole utility is as a strategic nuclear weapon. If my colleagues are interested in voting to cut a weapons system that will not affect our ability to wage the conventional or regional wars that we must be prepared for, this is the system.
Second, keep in mind our experience with the Minuteman III land-based ICBM. Many of my colleagues will remember the plans in the 1980's to replace the Minuteman with the MX. We decided to scrap those plans. Today the Minuteman III serves as the backbone of our land-based leg of the triad. The C-4 missiles we are retiring are much more modern weapons than the Minuteman III's.
Under this amendment we will continue to have 18 Trident subs through the year 2001 and we will not be down to 10 subs until 2005. Until that date, the C-4 missile will continue to serve its important role in our strategic defense just like the Minuteman III.
The opponents of this amendment have made the same arguments here on the floor that have been made over the years, to run our defense budget up to the level that it is at today and to run the debt of this country up to the $5.3 trillion of debt that we have today.
I urge Members of the House to reject that approach today. A vote for this amendment will save $5.7 billion of unnecessary spending. My colleagues have made that commitment to their constituents to do away with unnecessary spending.
And we can use that money for other more important purposes or to help balance the budget.
I thank my colleagues for their consideration.
The CHAIRMAN. The remaining time is 3 1/2 minutes to the gentleman from California [Mr. Hunter] who has the right to close.
Mr. HUNTER. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
Mr. Chairman, I think this is an example of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. We have an arms control process that is walking down the line that has taken us to the point where we are waiting for the Soviet Union to ratify the second arms agreement. We have got a situation where we can get a quid pro quo; that means when we take down a weapons system, the Soviet Union, now Russia, will take down a weapons system, and I want to answer just a couple of things that the proponents of this amendment made that are just not the case, a couple of their arguments.
First, this does not save any money. According to the Navy it is $2.3 billion to upgrade the C-4 missile. If we are not going to have the D-5, we are going to have to upgraded the C-4. That is $2.3 billion. According to the Navy, if we add all the termination costs, we are actually going to pay, the taxpayers will pay, 60 million more dollars to maintain the old C-4 missile then to complete the project on the D-5 missile. So we do not save money for the taxpayers according to the Navy. We spend an extra $60 million.
But second and most importantly, there have been no experts here that have said that we should unilaterally eliminate this program without getting anything from the Soviet Union. The assembled admirals and generals who were quoted here simply said we should eventually do away with nuclear weapons. Well, the best way to eventually do away with nuclear weapons is to have something to negotiate with to get the Soviets to and the Russians to walk down on their inventory.
This is giving up something unilaterally that means we will not get a concession from Russia for it, we will not get an SS-18 removed, we will not get one of their strategic boats removed, we will simply make a unilateral concession.
So we get nothing for it economically, we get nothing for it in terms of arms control; it is not an amendment of value, it is a dangerous amendment.
Mr. Chairman, I yield such time as he may consume to the gentleman from Washington [Mr. Dicks].
Mr. DICKS. Mr. Chairman, I just want to compliment the gentleman. He has got this exactly right. This is one of those ironies. If we kill the D-5, we are going to spend more on the existing missile which is less capable. It is less capable. And then we got 2 systems, we are going to have the duplication in repair, spare parts and everything else.
So let us stay with the program. At some point in the future, as my colleagues know, we may get down to 14, but that is going to be when we have agreed to it, when there is a negotiated agreement between the 2 sides.
To do it unilaterally I think would be a very serious mistake, and I urge a no vote on the Luther Ramstad amendment.
Mr. HUNTER. I thank the gentleman from Washington [Mr. Dicks] for his very articulate statement.
Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time and urge a no vote on this amendment.
The CHAIRMAN. All time has expired.
Mr. DELLUMS. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the requisite number of words.
The CHAIRMAN. Under section 2(c) of the rule, the gentleman does have that right and is recognized for 5 minutes.
Mr. DELLUMS. Mr. Chairman, I have listened very carefully to both sides of this debate, and I would like to indicate to my colleagues that I rise in strong support of the amendment offered by my distinguished colleague.
Now let us have the discussion.
I would ask my colleagues:
`Would you authorize new construction on a base you're going to close?'
The point I make here is that if we know where we are headed, we know where we are going, the only issue is how do we get there most efficiently, most effectively, and, in this limited dollar environment, most economically.
I would suggest, Mr. Chairman, that we think boldly, not this incremental cautious step that ends up costing the American taxpayers billions and billions of dollars at a time when we do not need to spend them.
Now, when my colleagues on this side of the aisle in support of the amendment have indicated that it would save them $5.67 billion, Mr. Chairman, that is only part of the savings.
My colleagues who oppose this amendment said: But we will have to upgrade C-4 missiles.
Think boldly. I am going to give my colleagues a proposal that does not require them to improve C-4 missiles.
Think boldly. I am going to give my colleagues a proposal that does not require them to retrofit.
Think boldly. I am going to give my colleagues a proposal that does not allow them to have to worry about two missiles.
We are sitting here debating about whether it is boats or missiles. It is about warheads. The boats and the missiles are only the delivery system. What we are looking at, at this point, are a large number of boats with few warheads.
Think boldly. Few boats, greater number of warheads, saving the American taxpayers not just $5.7 billion, but two to three times more money at a time that we live in a limited dollar environment.
What is the proposal? Go now to 10 boats. The Navy could then with 10 boats meet essential requirements under START II today and the anticipated requirements under START III framework tomorrow. We can do both simultaneously.
Think boldly. Not from 16, 14, 13, 12; go to 10. My colleagues know where they are headed. Save the money.
We have been talking about a 5-year budget agreement where we have to scrutinize every dollar. Well, get out of this little cautious approach that we have and save people money. By varying the number of missiles outloaded per boat and the number of warheads uploaded per missile this can be accomplished within the current 350-missile inventory.
This approach would save us, as I said, from expensive C-5 retrofit for four to eight boats. That is not necessary, the multibillion-dollar cost to buy 84 D-5 missiles planned through the year 2005, and the operation and support costs associated with the above.
Do the math on that, Mr. Chairman; we have saved the American taxpayer $10, $15 billion.
But move beyond the point that they are trying to make. We all know that we are trying to go to a new world. We all know that we are moving toward fewer and fewer nuclear weapons and greater capability.
My colleague from California says this is unilateral disarmament. That is bizarre. What we are looking at, at this point, is the Navy buying a fixed amount of missiles and then varying the boats.
Now, one does not have to be too smart to recognize that a boat costs a hell of a lot of money, a lot more money than the missile. I say turn it around, think rationally, vary the number of missiles, fix the number of boats. Go quickly to 10. I know it is bold, but I want to shake my colleagues up some. We have been talking about saving American people money. This is not about unilateralism. Those are euphemisms and hot-button words, but rational intelligent, thought says that we ought to go someplace, save money.
With those thoughts I am in enthusiastic and overwhelming support to the gentleman's amendment.
One last point. If there is any problem with the gentleman's amendment, it is that he has thought further out than most people have thought. He got here faster than anybody got here. This debate is a preview of a debate that we are going to have next year and the year after next. I compliment the gentleman for his over-the-horizon forward thinking. He got there before everybody did. He put before this body what needs to be discussed, and it needs to be discussed now, and the earlier we start to think about it, the better off we will be.
Mr. HUNTER. Mr. Chairman, I ask unanimous consent to exercise the authority to strike the last word.
The CHAIRMAN. Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from California?
There was no objection.
The CHAIRMAN. The chair recognizes the gentleman from California for 5 minutes.
Mr. HUNTER. Mr. Chairman, I just wanted to take this time to engage with my colleague and with the other side, and I just want to go over the points that have been made earlier and the points that he spoke to.
First, according to the Navy, and if we are going to save money, we have got to put a pencil to the balance sheet and we have to try to figure out whether extending the life of the C-4 is going to be cheaper or more expensive than buying the rest of the D-5. If money, and I would submit there is a lot more to this debate than just money, but if money is the object, we have got to put a pencil to it and see if it works. According to the Navy it does not work, and we end up spending $60 million more extending the life of the C-4 missile then completing the program on D-5. Now that is the fact.
Second, let me just say to my friend, as my colleagues know, this is a long debate that we have been in; he and I have debated arms control for 16 years now, and I can recall the early days of the 1980's when Ronald Reagan was building a stronger strategic deterrent. My friend answered `No, that is not the way to go, and you are driving the Russians away from the bargaining table,' and when the Russians were lining our European allies' borders with SS-20 missiles and Ronald Reagan said we are going to put in ground-launched cruise missiles and Pershings to meet them, and there was enormous debate in Europe in the mid 1980's, there were many people on this side of the ocean, many pundits, many journalists, many Members of Congress who said, `You are driving the Russians away from the negotiating table,' but by being strong and by establishing a reinforced strategic triad, and that included our land based systems, going with the B-1 bomber on our air breathing systems and putting more capability into our undersea systems we brought the Russians to the negotiating table, and one day the phone rang and all of a sudden the Russians wanted to talk, and we started down this trail of arms negotiations.
But the genius of our side in the arms negotiations and reductions has been that we have gotten a quid pro quo for everything we have given up, we have gotten something in return. The President of the United States said `Trust but verify.' We do not unilaterally make concessions. That has worked, Mr. Chairman. We are now walking the Russians down on arms control.
So the gentleman's ascertation that this is a brilliant thing for Congress to unilaterally start giving up pieces of the strategic triad in anticipation of a third arms control agreement when the second arms control agreement has not even been ratified by the Russian Duma does not make any sense in that it is totally inconsistent with our history. And I think my friend wants to talk, and I am going to yield to him.
Mr. Chairman, I yield to the gentleman from California [Mr. Dellums].
Mr. DELLUMS. One very quick response to the gentleman is: The logic. Do we build up to build down. To build up we are going to spend billions of dollars and we know we are ultimately going to build down. That is the answer to the gentleman's point, that is the central part of this debate, and that is what needs to be developed. If we accept the logic of spending money going up so we negotiate to go down, the gentleman may have a point.
I do not see the point in that, I do not see the wisdom, and I certainly do not see the economics.
Mr. HUNTER. Mr. Chairman, I will explain what I think is the wisdom there.
We are going to a smaller and smaller strategic triad. Both sides have agreed that part of the triad that remains is going to be as modern and effective and as reliable as possible.
Now our experts have determined that the most reliable part of the strategic triad is the undersea part; it is certainly the most invulnerable part, and that the D-5 missile is an important component of that part of the strategic triad. It is the most modern, the most accurate, the most effective, the most reliable.
So when we are going to build down and we are going to get down to a smaller number of units, carrying that very important American deterrent, we want to have the best.
Now the Russians, I would offer to my friend, have done exactly the same thing. They have not thrown away their modern stuff and left their old stuff. They have kept the most modern part of their own strategic triad in place.
It is our right under the arms control agreement to stay strong in that respect. I think we owe it to the American people to stay strong in that respect.
Mr. Chairman, I yield to the gentleman from California [Mr. Dellums].
Mr. DELLUMS. To establish some reality to people who are listening to this debate, we already have 350 of these missiles. The debate is whether we buy 84 additional ones. I am saying that is the build up to build down.
In my proposal we can stay within the anticipated requirements of START II, of the START II negotiation, and what we anticipate in START III, we can do that within the current inventory of 350. Why buy 84 more because we know we are going to come down again?
That logic escapes me; the gentleman cannot make me understand that.
The CHAIRMAN. All time has expired.
The question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from Minnesota [Mr. Luther].
The question was taken; and the Chairman announced that the noes appeared to have it.
Mr. LUTHER. Mr. Chairman, I demand a recorded vote, and pending that I make the point of order that a quorum is not present.
The CHAIRMAN. Pursuant to House Resolution 169, further proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentleman from Minnesota [Mr. Luther] will be postponed.
The CHAIRMAN. The pending business is the demand for a recorded vote on the amendment offered by the gentleman from Minnesota [Mr. Luther] on which further proceedings were postponed and on which the noes prevailed by voice vote.
The Clerk will redesignate the amendment.
The Clerk redesignated the amendment.
The CHAIRMAN. A recorded vote has been demanded.
A recorded vote was ordered.
The vote was taken by electronic device, and there were--ayes 145, noes 253, not voting 36, as follows:
The Clerk announced the following pairs:
On this vote:
Mr. Rahall for, with Mr. Deutsch against.
Mr. Stark for, with Mr. McIntosh against.
Messrs. CRANE, METCALF, MILLER of Florida, and NEAL of Massachusetts changed their vote from `aye' to `no.'
Ms. CARSON, Messrs. PAYNE, RUSH and HILLIARD, and Mrs. KELLY, changed their vote from `no' to `aye.'
So the amendment was rejected.