Washington, DC — Congressman Charles K. Djou (HI-01) gave the following speech from the floor of the U.S. House today during consideration of the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Act:
BY CONGRESSMAN CHARLES DJOU, R-HI – Mr. Speaker, thank you for giving me the opportunity to express my disappointment that my amendment was not allowed to be submitted to this body.
I specifically wanted to highlight my amendment which was asking to restore funding for the relocation of American forces away from Okinawa to Guam as requested by President Obama. I think it is a major mistake that this body is not going to support the President’s request for relocation of American forces.
As a Member of the Armed Services Committee and a Member that represents a large portion of the Pacific Fleet in Hawaii, I support restoring funds for the construction to further the realignment of Marine Corps forces from Okinawa to Guam in H.R. 5822. The committee reduced the appropriation request submitted by the President by 50%. The Guam realignment would be one of the largest moves of military forces in decades. Postponement of construction of necessary military facilities and infrastructure will cause unnecessary delay and threatens our geopolitical positioning in the Asia-Pacific region. My amendment was also completely offset by reallocating funds from military construction requests that were put above what President Obama had asked for.
Mr. Speaker and Members, I want to highlight to this body that two days ago, the United States Armed Forces began the largest war game operation in the Korean Peninsula in the Yellow Sea since the end of the Cold War. The reason we entered these war game operations is because of the instability that continues to unfortunately exist in East Asia and the Korean Peninsula.
By failing to support the President in reallocating sufficient funding to establish new force location in Guam, over the short-term we might be OK, but over the long-term this is a major geopolitical mistake that this Congress is making.
I hope that Congress reconsiders. I hope the Senate reexamines this, and I am disappointed I was unable to offer this amendment on this very important and serious matter.
Background: Congressman Djou’s amendment would’ve restored, through offsets, the necessary funding to one of the largest movements of military assets in decades while helping to maintain a robust military presence in the Asia-Pacific region.
Congressman Djou’s amendment would’ve increased funding for military construction projects necessary to realign Marine Corps forces to Guam. The funds would come from offsets within H.R. 5822:
Major and Minor Military Construction Projects. The amendment would reallocate $52.9 million in funds from major and minor military construction projects ($26.488 million for major projects, and $26.45 million for minor projects). A total of $55 million over the President’s request was appropriated, and these funds derive from this.
BRAC 1990 Environmental Cleanup. The amendment would reallocate $100 million from the backlog of environmental cleanup for bases that were closed during the four previous BRAC rounds. A total of $100 million over the President’s request was appropriated, and your funds derive from this.
Trainee Troop Housing Initiative. The amendment would reallocate $120 million from the Army’s program to modernize troop housing facilities for trainees.
Finally, the amendment was completely offset by reallocating funds mostly from military construction accounts funded above the President’s request. The reallocation of funds would still be creating jobs through military construction.
The CBO estimated that the amendment would have no dollar amount impact on the budget and would, in fact, reduce FY 2012 overlays by $36 million.
Congressman Djou’s amendment would’ve provided much-needed resources to transfer military personnel and their dependents in a safe and fiscally sound manner.
Watch the speech HERE. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JPgyt04fS_w