The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under the Speaker's announced policy of January 7, 1997, the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Weldon) is recognized for 60 minutes as the designee of the majority leader.
Mr. WELDON of Pennsylvania. Mr. Speaker, I will not take the full hour but I do want to take some time to discuss what I think is the real scandal in this city that we had better start to focus on a little more aggressively and coherently than we have done in the past.
It seems as though all of our colleagues on both sides of the aisle, the national media and the administration, has focused on the process currently unfolding in the Committee on the Judiciary. While I am not going to diminish the seriousness of that issue and the challenges it presents to us, I want to focus on a lesser publicized issue that I think presents for us a scandal that is going to last well into the next century. That scandal involves the underfunding of our national military and our national security apparatus.
Today, Speaker Gingrich, along with the leadership of the defense committees in the House, held a press conference and signed the legislation that we are now sending up to the President to both authorize and appropriate our defense funds for the next fiscal year. We have completed our part of the process in laying out our defense funding strategy for the year 1999.
The problem, Mr. Speaker, is that this legislation was very tightly controlled by the budget numbers that we were given and does not really reflect the threats that we see emerging around the world and the commitments that we are involving our troops in around the world. In fact, Mr. Speaker, both bills, while the best that we could develop, were woefully inadequate in terms of funding our national security needs.
This year, Mr. Speaker, we are into our 14th consecutive year of real defense cuts. Now when our colleagues talk about cutting the size of the Federal Government, they talk to their constituents and they talk to each other about what a great job we have done; we really have controlled spending. The fact of the matter is, Mr. Speaker, that the only real cuts that have occurred in a significant way in terms of workforce and in terms of budget size is in the area of national defense.
In fact, if one compares what we are spending today versus what we spent, say, in the time of John Kennedy, it gives one a realistic view of where we are today. In the 1960s, when John Kennedy was president, it was a time of relative peace. It was after Korea and before Vietnam. We were spending 52 cents of every Federal tax dollar on the military, 9 percent of our country's gross national product. In this fiscal year, we are spending 2.8 percent of our country's gross national product and just 15 cents of the Federal tax dollar on the military. So we have gone, in this short period of time, from 52 cents of every dollar sent to Washington to 15 cents of every dollar sent to Washington to pay for national security.
We have to understand the context in which that cut has occurred, because back when John Kennedy was the President, there was the draft. We took young people out of high school, we paid them next to nothing, they served their country for 2 years, some stayed on for a longer tenure but the pay and the quality of life costs for our troops were much different than they are today.
Today we have an all-volunteer force. Our young people are well educated. Many are married. We have
housing costs, health care costs. We have the cost of travel and transportation to move people around. So a much larger portion of that smaller defense spending goes for the quality of life of our troops, and we in the Congress are always going to meet their needs. In fact, in today's bill, we increased the pay raise for the military personnel by a half a percent above what the President requested in his budget.
Even beyond the quality of life differential between the sixties and today, some other things have changed. While we have cut our defense budget for the 14th consecutive year and while we are now at an all time low, very close to what we were pre-World War II, some other things have happened.
In the last 6 years, Mr. Speaker, our commander in chief, the President, has deployed our troops 26 times around the world. Currently, he is talking about another deployment over in the Balkans and in the region that is so unsettled today. Twenty-six deployments and none of these deployments were budgeted for or paid for.
If one compares that to the previous 40 years, Mr. Speaker, our troops were only committed to 10 deployments. So 10 deployments in a 40-year time period; 26 in the last 6 years, since this President has been in office. None of those 26 deployments were paid for.
Now, some might criticize my statement and say what about George Bush? He committed our troops to a very large operation in Desert Storm, which he did, to remove Saddam Hussein from the illegal occupation of Kuwait. But they must also remember that George Bush went out and convinced the allied nations of the world to help offset the costs of that deployment. In fact, we generated $53 billion in revenue to this country for an operation that cost us $52 billion.
So Operation Desert Storm, in terms of dollars, did not cost the taxpayers any additional money. The 26 deployments in the last 6 years have cost us in excess of $15 billion. None of that was budgeted for prior to that deployment, and except for the actions of the Republican Congress the costs associated with those deployments were not paid for.
So all of that money to pay for those deployments had to come out of an already decreasing defense budget. So to pay for those 26 deployments we in the Congress had to take money out of modernization, out of research, out of quality of life, so that our defense budget and our priorities were that much further hurt by the actions that this Congress was forced to take.
On top of all of that, we have to look at what has been the most rapidly increasing part of our defense funding. Back in the 1960s when John Kennedy was president we did not spend any significant amount of money on what we today call environmental mitigation. In this year's defense budget, we will spend $11 billion on environmental mitigation.
Mr. Speaker, when one takes the changes that have occurred over the past 30 years, the deployment rate that has escalated dramatically, we see that we are forced into an impossible situation of trying to meet additional threats with decreased and continuing diminishment of our resources available for national security.
The President has made the case that there are no longer the same threats that we faced when we were in the Cold War. I would argue that is not totally correct, Mr. Speaker. In fact, I would make the case that Russia is more destabilized today than at any point in time under Communism, when there was the tight control of a central government, when there was the rule of law, where there was a Soviet Army that was well paid and well cared for. Today we have economic chaos in Russia. We have generals and admirals being forced out of the military without being given their back pay, without being given housing, without being given the pensions that they have earned for all of these years; and in some cases, as General Alexander Lebed testified before my committee, are now involved in clandestine operations, selling off technology, chemical, biological, and perhaps even nuclear technology, to those rogue nations and states that will pay the right fee to get those secrets that Russia has within its control.
So I would make the case, Mr. Speaker, that while the threat may be different today, it is actually in some cases much worse than what it was during the Cold War, because we all to realize, Mr. Speaker, that while we have seen some reduction in Russia's strategic offensive nuclear forces, Russia still has tens of thousands of nuclear weapons. They still have thousands of long-range ICBMs that can be launched from submarines or from mobile launchers inside of Russia. Those long-term, long range ICBMs may, in fact, be subjected to the concerns relative to the instability in the Russian military.
It was just 3 years ago, in January of 1995, because of the degradation of Russia's internal intelligence monitoring capability, that even though Russia had been forewarned of a rocket launch by the Norwegians right next door to Russia, when that rocket launch occurred Russia mistook that for an attack by a U.S. submarine against Russia itself. As has been documented time and again, in the public media, in this country and around the world, Russia then for the first time ever, that we know of, activated its nuclear response which was aimed against the U.S., which meant that they had approximately 20 to 25 minutes to respond to a weather rocket being launched by Norway that they had been warned of earlier.
With a matter of minutes left, Boris Yeltsin overruled the two commanding officers who, along with him, control the system that controls the response of the ICBMs from Russia, at that time Defense Minister Grachev of Russia and General Klesnikov. He called off that nuclear response, which would have been an attack on our country, of a multistage rocket that was launched by Norway for weather sampling purposes.
These are the kinds of risks that we now face, Mr. Speaker, that were not a concern back in the days of the Cold War. We face the concerns brought to us by General Alexander Lebed last year when he told me in a face-to-face meeting that as Yeltsin's chief defense advisor several years prior, when he was asked to account for 132 suitcase-sized nuclear weapons, small atomic demolition munitions, he could only account for 48. He had no idea where the other 70 or 80 devices were, whether they were safe, whether they were secure, or, in fact, whether or not these devices had been sold or maybe, in fact, were on the world market available to be sold internationally.
The point is that the instability in Russia today is cause for us in this country to be alarmed. Look at some of the evidence of what has occurred over this past year. We said last year that we thought the Russians, some of the Russian institutes that were so desperate for hard cash may, in fact, be cooperating with nations like Iran and Iraq to build next generation weapons systems. We were told by the Intelligence Community not to worry, that is not happening. That Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria and North Korea would not have these kinds of technologies that threaten this country for decades, for years, so for us not to worry. We have time to prepare.
It was last August when the leader of Israel Mr. Netanyahu challenged the U.S. by saying publicly that Israel had evidence that Russia had entered into secret arrangements and deals with their space agency and the Iranians to help Iran build a medium-range missile.
We in the Congress responded to that. In fact, I introduced legislation which eventually passed, in spite of the administration's opposition, to give us short-term capability to protect our troops in the Middle East, to protect our allies like Israel and Kuwait, Bahrain, and the other Gulf countries, Egypt and Jordan and so forth.
As late as February of this year, the Assistant Secretary of Defense wrote me a three-page letter and said, Congressman Weldon, your fears are unfounded. We will not see the Iranians deploy a medium-range missile for at least 2 years, and probably even longer.
July 22 came, Mr. Speaker, and the world saw Iran launch a medium-range missile, the Shahab-3. This missile, which appeared years earlier than what we were told by this administration, this capability would, in fact, be within the range and capability of Iran, was tested. We now assume it is deployed, which means that today, tomorrow, and for the next 12 to 18 months, the 25,000 troops that we have stationed in the Middle East, all of Israel, and all of our allies in the Middle East are at risk because we do not have the capability to defend those individuals against that system that Iran now has which they acquired with the help of Russian agencies and entities.
That is why this Congress voted overwhelmingly in the House with 400 votes, in the Senate with 96 votes, to force the administration to impose sanctions on the Russians for cooperating with the Iranians in terms of that technology.
This was a threat that we did not see, that we did not feel, and did not realize just 1 and 2, 3 short years ago. Today it is reality.
Then we saw North Korea, Mr. Speaker, at the end of August, on August 31, take a step that none of us thought would occur, certainly not in this decade, in this century. And that action was to fire a three-stage rocket, which we were not even sure that North Korea had the technical capability to deploy, to fire a three-stage rocket across the mainland of Japan.
Now, the trouble with that three-stage rocket, known as a Taepodong 1 system, is that this capability, when one does the mathematical calculations to show the potential range of that system, now shows that North Korea has a system that can hit the outer fringes of Alaska and Hawaii.
Mr. Speaker, this is unheard of. We always knew that Russia had long-range ICBMs. We even knew that China had long-range ICBMs. Now we face the very difficult prospect that North Korea has tested a system which begins to touch the outer reaches of the 50 United States. Again, Mr. Speaker, we have no systems or capability today to defend this Nation against that threat.
We heard the statements by General Lebed about small atomic demolition munitions. We know the increasing threat being posed by weapons of mass destruction, chemical and biological weapons, nuclear weapons. We have seen, as I reported 2 months ago on the floor of this House, 37 violations of international arms control agreements by Russia and China in the last 6 years alone.
Now, this administration claims that we can cut the Fed spending because they can rely on our arms control agreements to control proliferation. The fact is, Mr. Speaker, this administration has the most abysmal record on arms control of any administration in this century. Of those 37 violations that I put in the record 2 months ago, this administration only imposed sanctions three times. In each of those three cases, they waived the sanctions.
We saw the Chinese sending M-11 missiles to Pakistan. We saw the Chinese sending ring magnets for Pakistan's nuclear program. We saw the Chinese sending special furnaces for Pakistan's nuclear program, and we did not take the appropriate steps to stop it. We saw the Russians transferring accelerometers and gyroscopes to Iraq. In fact, we saw it happen three times.
We saw the Russians transferring technology to Iran for their medium-range missile. In fact, we saw it numerous times. And we have seen evidence, Mr. Speaker, of the transfer of chemical and biological technology to rogue nations and rogue states that now threatens our security and the security of our allies around the world.
So the problem we have, Mr. Speaker, is that while this administration has cut defense spending dramatically to the point now where we are facing a situation much like the 1970s, they have also not enforced the very arms control agreements that they maintain are the heart of their ability to guarantee stability around the world. So we have been hit, in effect, by a double whammy. We have been hit by a lack of arms control enforcement, by a policy of proliferation that we have not controlled, that this Congress has acknowledged with its votes, coupled with a dramatic series of cuts in our defense spending.
Now, how serious are these cuts, Mr. Speaker? Well, we have some wings of our Air Force capability where we have up to one-third of our fighter aircraft that cannot fly. We have to use one-third of the airplanes to cannibalize the parts to keep the other two-thirds flying.
A few short months ago we had to ground our nationwide fleet of Huey helicopters because of lack of resources. We are asking our marines and our Navy personnel to fly the CH-46 helicopter until it is 55 years old. This helicopter was built during the Vietnam war, but because we had to pay for all of these deployments that this President got us into, we had to
shift the money away from buying new helicopters to pay for those deployments, and more and more of our soldiers and sailors and marines are being subjected to increased threats because of the age of these aircraft, because of the age of these systems.
The Joint Chiefs now, after 4 years of telling the Republican Congress we do not need this extra funding, have finally awakened, and just last week in the Senate the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs and the service chiefs each came in and said, we were wrong, we need more money. Our backs are against the wall. The troops are hurting. Morale is down.
We have got the lowest retention rate in the last 20 years in terms of Navy pilots and Air Force pilots. We cannot pay them enough money to stay in to man these missions that this President wants to put our troops into harm's way with.
Mr. Speaker, this is the real scandal in Washington, and this is where the American people need to focus their attention. The world is not all that safe. There are attempts to move weapons of mass destruction around the world. There are nations building medium- and long-range missile systems today. In fact, we have intelligence evidence not just showing North Korea, not just Iran and Iraq, but Syria and Libya and other nations that are desperately trying to get a capability to ultimately harm the U.S. and our allies.
How could we be surprised in May of this year when India and Pakistan started to sabre rattle? One set off a nuclear detonation, and the other did. We saw that technology flowing there, and we did not stop it. But when it occurred, we raised our voices and said, how can these two nations be threatening each other in such a civilized world? Because of the insecurity that is now occurring around the world by the continual decline in our defense capability, coupled with the lack of enforcement of arms control regimes.
Now, Mr. Speaker, most of my colleagues know that I am not advocating massive increases in defense spending. In fact, I was one of the only Members on my side that continuously opposed the B-2 bomber, not because I do not like the stealth technology, but because I felt we could not afford it. I have opposed weapons systems. I have criticized this administration for trying to do too much.
But, Mr. Speaker, we are now between a rock and a hard place. As we approach the end of this century, we are facing a colossal train wreck. We have a ton of new weapons systems that need to be built to replace older systems that we cannot fund. The Navy wants a new aircraft carrier. That is a $6 billion price tag. They want new attack submarines. They want new surface ships.
The Marine Corps wants the V-22 Osprey to replace the CH-46 helicopter. The Army wants the Comanche helicopter. The Army wants to digitize its battlefield. They want the Crusader, and all four services want new tactical aviation, want new fighter planes, the F-22, the Joint Strike Fighter and the FA-18E/F.
If we take that one area alone of tactical aviation, and if we proceed, as this administration wants us to do, to buy all three systems, the General Accounting Office and the Congressional Budget Office has estimated in congressional hearings to us that it would cost us between $14 billion and $16 billion a year to fund those three programs.
Mr. Speaker, this year we are spending about $2.5 to $3 billion on tactical aviation. How in the world are we going to fund $14 billion to $16 billion 5 years down the road? The answer is we cannot.
Mr. Speaker, my prediction is that in the next century, in the first decade, we will look back on this 8-year period as the worst period of time in undermining our national security.
Mr. Speaker, we do not have a strong military to necessarily fight wars, but rather to deter aggression. No Nation in the world has ever fallen because it was too strong. When a Nation is strong, despots and tyrants do not think about challenging them. People like Saddam Hussein and the Ayatollah Khomeini, Muammar Gadhafi think twice when they know a Nation is strong and there is a price to pay for actions they take.
When a nation begins to weaken itself militarily, when we cannot handle the level of our commitments around the world, when we do not enforce arms control regimes that control proliferation, that is when security becomes a major problem. That is what we are approaching today, Mr. Speaker. We are approaching a situation today where we cannot meet the demands that are being placed on our troops.
When I traveled to Somalia a few years ago and talked to our troops, the one thing that those young Marines said to us was, you know, Congressman, we will go any place any time we are asked by our country, but we cannot keep having these back-to-back deployments. You send us from Haiti to Somalia, from Somalia to Bosnia. When do we get home to see our families? When do we get home to see our loved ones?
Mr. Speaker, morale in our services is taking a nose-dive. That is not a front page story in the Washington Post. It is not the lead editorial in The New York Times. It is not even the lead story in the L.A. Times. But, Mr. Speaker, it is real.
We are facing a situation today that we are going to pay the price for. Increasing deployments, decreasing dollars, increasing costs for quality of life, lack of commitment for the resources necessary, and a world that is increasingly more troublesome in terms of threats.
Now, we do not just need to restrengthen our military, but that is, in fact, a top priority. We need to reinforce our commitment to enforce arms control regimes; to make sure that nations do not send their technology to rogue operatives.
Now, I am not saying we have to embarrass the Russians or embarrass the Chinese. In fact, Mr. Speaker, I have been to Russia 16 times, and last year I led two delegations to China. I formed and chair the interparliamentary relationship with the Russian Duma. I do not want to recreate the Cold War. But in dealing with Russia and China, it is not just the engagement espoused by this administration, rather it is what I call the need for us to have disciplined engagement.
When we deal with the Russians, they must understand we want to help stabilize their country economically, socially and politically, but we also want them to understand that, as a civilized nation in the 21st Century, they cannot allow technology to be sold to rogue nations, to rogue operatives. When we deal with China and engage them economically, they must understand that we are going to call into question their lack of control of sensitive technologies that they sell abroad. That is what this administration has not been doing well.
In fact, Mr. Speaker, I will be supporting this administration when they come and ask this body, as they have, to replenish the IMF with money to help Russia stabilize itself. But, Mr. Speaker, I am going to make some clear differences between what this administration wants to do and what I think is necessary.
Many of my colleagues in this body oppose helping Russia during this time of economic turmoil. I would say we have no choice. Because if we do not help Russia stabilize itself, I can tell my colleagues where they are going to turn, they are going to turn to those middle eastern countries, those Islamic nations who have the dollars, who have the hard currency to buy the kinds of technology that Russia has to offer, whether it is chemical, biological or nuclear; to buy the weapon systems that Russia has to sell.
We need to have Russia understand that we want to constructively engage in a disciplined way our Russian friends. In fact, that is why, Mr. Speaker, I went to Moscow the first week of September. I met with the factions in the State Duma. In fact, I negotiated, with some of my friends, a series of eight principles that I think should be the conditions upon which we approve additional funding for Russia through the IMF. Those principles deal with simple facts, Mr. Speaker, and the irony is I came back to Washington with agreement on the part of the Russian Duma.
Now, Mr. Speaker, this administration has complained that the Duma in Russia has been the reason why the economic reforms have not gone forward, and that is because this administration has totally relied on a one-on-one relationship between our President and President Yeltsin. In fact, we have not established the kind of outreach to those other power centers in Russia that need to be addressed and need to be consulted. Well, that is what I did, working with my colleagues in the interparliamentary dialogue. We negotiated a series of principles that I think lay the foundation for a new relationship with Russia.
The interesting point, Mr. Speaker, is that today, while many of my colleagues in the Congress oppose IMF funding, interestingly enough, so does the Russian Duma oppose IMF funding. Now, why does the Russian Duma oppose additional American money and western money going into Russia? Because their perception is that we are reinforcing corrupt institutions, that are basically Boris Yeltsin's institutions in Moscow, that have wasted hundreds of millions and billions of dollars, as has been documented by both the IMF, by our own auditing entities in this country, and even by the internal Russian auditing agencies.
So the Duma says, why should we support more money coming into our country in the form of loans when we are going to be stuck with the bill, and when those loans are going to simply bail out corrupt institutions that have not helped create a middle class in Russia. So the Duma is not stupid. They do not want more money coming into Russia, because they have seen where the money has gone up until now. It has gone down a hole. In fact, much of it has ended up in Swiss bank accounts, in U.S. real estate investments, by corrupt Moscow-based institutions that have not been thinking about the welfare and the needs of the Russian people and the Russian middle class.
Now, there are some things the Duma has to do. They need to implement reforms. But they will not do it with Boris Yeltsin and they will not do it for President Clinton, because they see their policies as having failed. What, then, did we agree to?
Mr. Speaker, first of all, we agree, this was on the part of the Russian Duma and the U.S. Congress representatives, that any additional IMF funding, any additional World Bank funding, any additional funds from the U.S. Government must first of all be preceded by the reforms necessary and called for by the IMF and by President Clinton. That means stable tax systems, that means aggressive tax collection, that means privatization of land, that means structural reform of Russia's economy. And the Duma agrees with that principle.
The second principle, Mr. Speaker, was that the regions that have taken steps to implement reforms should be given proper recognition by the Moscow-based institutions where they, in fact, are taking steps to privatize the land, to stabilize the economy, and to make programs available for middle income people in Russia. In fact, this is one of the top priorities in Russia.
And coupled with this is their initiative to begin the first housing mortgage financing system in Russia, a program I have been working on for the last 14 months, set up by my colleague, the gentleman from North Carolina (Mr. Charles Taylor), one of our successful bankers in the Congress.
The third principle is that there should be a new commission established, made up of Members of the U.S. Congress and the Russian Duma. This commission would monitor every dollar of money going into Russia to make sure the money is going for the intended purpose for which the money was allocated. There currently does not exist that kind of oversight, where we can have access to see where these dollars are ending up. And if we had had that, perhaps we would not have seen the hundreds of millions and billions of dollars from the IMF go into corrupt hands in Russia.
Another principle, Mr. Speaker, is to force the IMF to reform itself; to suggest to the IMF board that it should convene an international blue ribbon task force to make specific recommendations to the IMF board about structural reforms that are necessary to deal with world economic problems like Russia is experiencing today, something that everyone agrees with. The IMF needs to reform itself and the way it doles out its dollars and its credits.
Another principle agreed to by the Duma, Mr. Speaker, was to have a full accounting of the IMF and World Bank dollars and U.S. dollars that have already
gone into Russia; to establish an appropriate auditing mechanism to see where those dollars went. And once that auditing was done, to make sure that no additional dollars from the IMF, the World Bank, or the U.S. Government went back to those corrupt institutions that took that money previously and wasted it.
Now, that seems like it is common sense, Mr. Speaker, and that is why the Russian Duma felt this was so significant and such a high priority; that no additional dollars would go into corrupt institutions, in Moscow or anyplace else in Russia.
Another initiative, Mr. Speaker, would have American business leaders making themselves available voluntarily to work with large corporate industries in Russia to assist them with their own corporate problems, whether they be management, fiscal discipline, marketing, whatever the problems would be, as a kind of mentoring relationship between American corporate leaders and Russian corporate leaders; to give them the kind of experiences that our corporate leaders have had such success with in this country and to be able to apply them in Russia.
And, finally, Mr. Speaker, we agreed that we should establish the parameters for a new one-shot initiative to bring up to 15,000 college Russian students, undergraduate and graduate, into America to attend American business economic and finance schools; to get undergraduate and graduate degrees in the principles of our free market system so they can become the next generation of business leaders in Russia's free markets.
The stipulation that would be required of each of these students is that they would come to America, but, when completing their degree, must go back to Russia to live and to work and not be able to stay in this country; to create a new generation of business leaders to help Russia move into the 21st Century in terms of a free capitalist system.
So, Mr. Speaker, our point is a simple one. We want to stabilize Russia, just as we want to help China stabilize itself, but we must do it with no blinders on our eyes. When Russia violates agreements, we must call them on those violations. And when China does the same, we must call them. But in the end, Mr. Speaker, we must also be prepared. We must have a military capable of handling any situation.
Listening to the chiefs testify before the Senate last week troubled me greatly, because the chairman of the joint chiefs and the service chiefs, who are now beginning to write to us about their shortfalls, are saying they are desperately close to not being able to meet the needs that they may be asked to respond to by the Commander-in-Chief of this country, whoever it might be.
Mr. Speaker, that is the real scandal in America, a scandal that needs to be addressed, a scandal that needs to be looked at. It is not screaming from the front pages of our newspapers, but when we talk to those military personnel serving our country, they tell us of the seriousness of this issue.
I encourage, I implore my colleagues, Mr. Speaker, to focus on the real scandal in America, not just today but as we approach the end of this session and into a new election cycle, and as we move into the next new session of Congress; that we look at national security in the context of what is occurring today around the world.
The threats in the 21st Century are going to be different from the Cold War. Missile proliferation and missiles are the weapons of choice, followed closely by weapons of mass destruction, be they chemical, biological or nuclear, that could be brought into our homeland or into our allies' territories and set off as we saw in the World Trade Center, the Murrah bombing in Oklahoma City, or the Atlanta bombing at the Olympics.
And the threats of the 21st Century are going to involve asymmetric warfare, the use of computers, and capabilities beyond our imagination to compromise our smart systems. If I am an adversary and want to take out America in the 21st Century, I am not just going to think about missiles and weapons of mass destruction, I am going to try to find ways to compromise our smart systems. Not just our missiles, that are all controlled by computers; not just our battlefield, which will be digitized in the 21st Century; but our quality of life systems, our electric grid system for our cities, our air traffic control system for our airplanes, our subway systems for our large metro transit authorities. These are the areas that we expect to be challenged in the 21st Century. And without the resources and the commitment, Mr. Speaker, this becomes the vulnerability of America in the 21st Century.
I encourage and, again, I implore our colleagues on both sides of the aisle, because this is a bipartisan issue. And in the past our successes in plussing up defense spending have all been bipartisan. It has been Democrats and Republicans working together in fighting a White House that has decimated our military's capability.
Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.