Rep. Calvert Statement on Defense Appropriations Bill

May 21, 2019
Press Release

Today, Congressman Ken Calvert (CA-42), the top Republican on the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, issued the following statement following the House Appropriations Committee markup of the Fiscal Year 2020 Defense Appropriations bill:

“The United States faces an increasingly challenging geopolitical landscape, one that requires a strong U.S. military to help maintain global peace and stability.  While we have been at war in the Middle East for nearly two decades, other regions of the world have been watching us and catching up to our military prowess.  We must not let our guard down.  

I am pleased with the bill’s focus on providing for the health and welfare of our men and women in uniform.  It reflects the longstanding concerns of so many of our Members with Defense health programs, including strong oversight of electronic health records management.  Importantly, it also provides full funding to increase basic pay for all our military personnel by 3.1%. The bill also continues to provide strong support for American allies and partners, including for Israeli missile defense, Jordan, and for U.S. and coalition efforts against ISIS, al-Qaeda, and their associated forces.

It’s unfortunate that important initiatives in the bill that have broad support are overshadowed by new restrictions on the Defense Department’s ability to provide lawful assistance to other agencies in combating the real and growing crisis on our southern border.  

Ultimately, I am greatly concerned that the Committee is marking up this and other bills without an agreement on topline spending levels that the President will also support. The bill was crafted without acknowledging the reality that if we cannot reach agreement on a budget caps deal, we face sequestration in the coming year.  If we fail to strike a deal, and are forced to endure sequestration, the impacts to our military readiness and modernization would be dire. We need all parties to come to the table now and make the tough but critical budget decisions necessary to protect our national security.

I want to work with my colleagues on the other side of the aisle to develop bills for fiscal year 2020 that meet our nation’s defense and border security priorities in a fiscally responsible manner.”