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Cramer Backs Successful Amendments to Protect Nuclear Missile Force, End Furloughs

Jul 24, 2013
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Today Congressman Kevin Cramer announced the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation with an amendment he co-introduced preventing the Obama Administration from unilaterally reducing nuclear defense capabilities. Cramer also backed two amendments to end the use of furloughs for dual status military technicians and civilian defense employees. The 2014 Department of Defense Appropriations Act also funds key military operations, puts more resources toward healthcare, and rejects President Obama’s reduced pay increase for military personnel.

Cramer introduced an amendment with Representatives Doug Lamborn (R-CO), Steve Daines (R-MT), and Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) prohibiting the Obama Administration from going forward with an environmental impact study on intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), which is the first step toward reducing the ICBM fleet. The amendment was adopted into the final legislation near midnight Tuesday, and passed in the full bill today. Cramer also helped defeat an amendment from Representative Mike Quigley (D-IL) to implement a unilateral reduction of the ICBM force of one-third, from 450 to 300.

“This amendment goes hand in glove with the amendment I offered in the National Defense Authorization Act several weeks ago, which makes it much more difficult if not impossible for the Obama Administration to engage in this unilateral disarmament of the very important nuclear triad which serves as a deterrence to our enemies, a list which is growing, not shrinking. I’m grateful to the House for passing this amendment in the appropriations bill and look forward to it going over to the Senate where hopefully it will become law,” said Cramer.

“It is commendable and important that the Congress, and in this particular case with leadership from North Dakota Congressman Cramer, is taking a strong stand to preserve our strategic deterrent, resisting those who would proceed with further reductions or even elimination of a leg of the Triad, before New START Treaty goals have been fully implemented. Task Force 21 believes that continuing a robust Triad is in the national interest, and will continue to serve as it has for many decades, to hold at risk those who would contemplate harm to the US or our allies. We applaud the work of Congressman Cramer in making sure these systems are preserved,” said Mark Jantzer, chairman of Task Force 21 in Minot.

Today’s legislation bolsters an amendment Cramer successfully included in the National Defense Authorization Act, which passed the House in June. It required all 450 ICBM silos to be kept in a “warm”, or active status.

The 2014 Department of Defense Appropriations Act also:

Prevents furloughs of civilian defense employees and military technicians

Cramer supported two amendments which together prohibit the use of funds to implement sequestration-related furloughs of civilian Department of Defense employees and dual status military technicians. These provisions would prevent furloughs at the beginning of Fiscal Year 2014 which has affected numerous civilian employees at North Dakota’s air bases and 600 North Dakota National Guard technicians this fiscal year. Technicians are the only uniformed military personnel currently furloughed under sequestration.

“One of the things I’ve been frustrated with at the Department of Defense is their indiscriminate use of furloughs to deal with the sequester cuts. The point of these cuts should be to find permanent savings by prioritizing. Instead they have made it as painful as possible on as many people as possible by implementing across-the-board furloughs. That’s not the way to manage. These amendments we were able to pass into the appropriations bill today prohibit the Department of Defense from using indiscriminate furloughs on civilian defense personnel and military technicians.” said Cramer.

Provides funding for North Dakota defense priorities

The bill includes research and development funding for the new Long-Range Strike bomber to eventually replace the B-52 long-range bomber currently stationed at Minot Air Force Base, and the KC-46A tanker mission, which has Grand Forks Air Force Base as a potential future site.

“This bill contains high priorities for North Dakota, and for the nation. I’m very pleased it funds continuing KC-46A and Global Hawk research, which are very important to the Grand Forks Air Force Base, and the Long Range Strike-Bomber, which will someday replace the B-52 bombers in Minot,” said Cramer.

Rejects a reduced troop pay increase proposed by President Obama

The bill fully funds a 1.8 percent pay raise for the military, which was previously authorized in the National Defense Authorization Act. In doing so, the House rejects the reduced increase of 1 percent requested by the President.

The bill also increases funding for critical military healthcare programs, adding $519 million above the President’s request. Included is $125 million for traumatic brain injury and psychological health research, and $20 million for suicide prevention outreach. Sexual assault prevention and response programs are also fully funded at $157 million, and the bill adds $25 million to expand assistance programs for victims of sexual assault. Additionally, amendments adopted on the House floor increased funding for these programs further.

Funds ongoing military operations while finding savings

$85.8 billion is included for ongoing military operations in Afghanistan, while keeping the overall defense spending level $5.1 billion below Fiscal Year 2013 through reductions in non-essential spending areas including $1 billion in anticipated excess funding and $2.1 billion from rescissions of unused funding from prior years.