NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT FOR FISCAL YEAR 1998 (House of Representatives - June 19, 1997)

Mr. WELDON of Pennsylvania. Mr. Chairman, I rise in strong support of the legislation and applaud both the Chairman and the ranking member for their leadership and the cooperation of our subcommittee chairs and the ranking members.

There are those in this country who think that we have mistakenly increased defense spending dramatically. The facts are, if we compare to what we are spending today to John Kennedy's tenure, and I raise that point in time because we had relative peace, it was after Korea and before Vietnam; we were spending 9 percent of our country's gross national product in the military. We were spending 52 cents of every Federal tax dollar on defense.

In this year's budget, we are spending less than 3 percent of the GNP on the military. We are spending 16 cents of the Federal taxpayer dollar on the military...

Mr. Chairman, we had a very difficult process. In my subcommittee we focused on three major 21st century threats that we see emerging, and we plussed up funding in each area above what the administration requested. First of all, dealing with weapons of mass destruction, missile proliferation is our No. 1 concern. In a bipartisan vote, we plussed it up significantly. We never wanted to see an incident occur like we saw over in Saudi Arabia where in 1991 we lost a number of our young kids to a low-class Scud missile...

We talk about the cost-effectiveness of acquisition reform; and while the administration talks about that, we drive up the costs of our program dramatically. But I ask our colleagues to vote in the affirmative on this very important bill.

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