Visclosky Statement from the House Floor Consideration of the Conference Report for the Fiscal Year 2020 Defense Appropriations Act

Dec 17, 2019
Press Release

Washington, DC – Below is the statement of Congressman Pete Visclosky from the House floor consideration of the conference report for the Fiscal Year 2020 Defense Appropriations Act, as prepared for delivery. 

“I would like to begin by expressing appreciation to Ranking Member Calvert.  He continues to be a tremendous partner in this process. 

“I also would like to express my gratitude to Chairwoman Lowey, Ranking Member Granger, and the other Members of the Committee for their efforts. 

“And thank you to each of our incomparable staff.  This legislation would not be possible without their intellectual acumen, outstanding effort, and significant sacrifices, particularly over the past month.

“Division A of the bill provides appropriations for the Department of Defense and is the result of a negotiated compromise.  Despite our best efforts, I was very disappointed to recede on certain provisions of the House passed bill, particularly those that restricted the ability of the Administration to reprogram defense funding for the border wall and several others that would have returned some balance to the oversight relationship between the Executive and Legislative Branches.  The department's actions in the past year have worsened its relationship with the committee.  With this agreement, we increase our emphasis on oversight as we move forward.

“There is a tremendous amount of good provided in this bill.  The bill provides ample funding for the Department of Defense to make major investments in readiness.  But our primary focus has been on the well-being and morale of those in uniform, their families, DoD civilians, and defense communities.

  • The bill provides the funding necessary to support a 3.1 percent military pay raise for our women and men in uniform. This is the largest increase in basic pay since 2010. 
  • The bill provides an additional $110 million for upgrades to DoD childcare facilities, which I see as just the first step in addressing the significant shortage of quality childcare within the military services.
  • The bill provides $315 million above the request to address public school infrastructure requirements on DoD installations, a $45 million increase above the fiscal year 2019 level.
  • The bill provides $1.42 billion for environmental restoration activities, $180.5 million above FY19 enacted and $344 million above the request. 
  • Additionally, the bill provides $1.8 billion in natural disaster funding for repairs and replacement of equipment at military bases damaged by natural disasters in Virginia, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, California, Nebraska, Alaska, and Georgia.

“In closing, I would like to end by reminding the Department of Defense that report language is directive, not permissive.  Actions in direct contravention to Congressional direction in the report are absolutely unacceptable and must stop.      

“Again, I thank my colleagues and the staff.  I urge support for the bill and yield back my time.”