Border Wall, National Security Funding Bill Passes House
Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL), a member of the House Armed Services Committee, voted today in favor of the Make America Secure Appropriations Act of 2017. The bill passed by a vote of 235 to 192 and includes critical military, national security, border security, and veteran affairs funding.
Important to Southwest Alabama, the bill includes funding for three Littoral Combat Ships (LCS), which are built in-part by Austal USA in Mobile. Earlier this month, the House passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which authorized the construction of these three LCS.
Additionally, the bill includes funding for border wall construction, a major priority of President Donald Trump. Specifically, $1.57 billion provides for physical barrier construction and repair along the southern border.
Congressman Byrne outlined his support for the bill during a speech from the House floor. A transcript of the Congressman’s remarks can be found below.
Byrne said: “Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of this rule and the underlying bill. The Make America Secure Appropriations Act is all about protecting the American people and securing the homeland.
“Unfortunately, years of underfunding has severely hurt our military. With this bill, we can make real progress toward rebuilding the military and adding more troops, sailors, airmen, and Marines to the force.
“Building on our pledge to boost the Navy to a 355 ship fleet, the bill funds 11 new ships. Included in this are three Littoral Combat Ships, of which the Independence class vessel is built by a fantastic workforce in Southwest Alabama.
“Having state-of-the-art facilities and resources is vital to the success of our military. To help repair dilapidated and aging military infrastructure, the bill provides a 25% increase in military construction funding.
“Supporting our servicemembers and their families is also a high priority of this bill, as it provides for the largest military pay raise in eight years.
“That’s not all the bill does. It also provides for our nation’s veterans – the very people who devoted their lives to protecting our country and the values we hold dear.
“This bill provides the highest level of funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs in our nation’s history. This will help cut down on the claims backlog and move forward with a new electronic medical health record system.
“Mr. Speaker, I am also pleased that this bill will allow us to begin increasing our nation’s border security in an effort to keep bad actors out of our country.
“The American people sent a strong message last November that they wanted a wall securing our southern border. This bill will begin this process by providing over $1.5 billion requested by President Trump for physical barrier construction along the Southern border.
“Mr. Speaker, over this past weekend a lot of people in America went to see a movie called Dunkirk. It is about the evacuation of over 300,000 British and French troops back over to England. Prime Minister Winston Churchill had only been in office a couple of weeks at that point in time, but he had predicted for years before that in speeches on the floor of the House of Commons that that day was coming. They took his speeches and put them together in a book called ‘While England Slept.’
“With this bill we are sending a strong message to the world that America is not asleep.”