U.S Rep. Howard P. "Buck" McKeon is a champion of a strong national defense, the men and women of America's Armed Forces and their families, easing the nation's national debt, and returning fiscal discipline to the Department of Defense.
McKeon was selected by his peers to serve as Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee in the 112th Congress. He was first named Ranking Member of the Committee in June 2009. His priorities for the Committee include:
- Ensuring our troops deployed in Afghanistan, Iraq and around the world have the equipment, resources, authorities, training and time they need to successfully complete their missions and return home;Prior to serving as the lead Republican on HASC, McKeon was the top Republican on the Education and Labor Committee for close to three years, where he advanced conservative policies supporting school choice, teacher quality and accountability, and higher education access and affordability.
- Building on the Armed Services Committeeï¿½s strong bipartisan tradition of providing our warfighters and their families with the resources and support they need; and
- Investing in the capabilities and force structure needed to protect the United States from tomorrowï¿½s threats, while mandating fiscal responsibility, accountability and transparency from the Department of Defense.
As Armed Services Committee Ranking Member, McKeon fought tostrengthen our military and invest in a force postured to meet the challenges of the 21st century, while working to provide the necessary resources for America's sons and daughters in Afghanistan and Iraq. He also led efforts to keep terrorist detainees off of U.S. soil, boost funding for missile defense, and restore the tradition of passing defense authorization bills devoid of controversial social items.
Additionally, McKeon has worked tirelessly to bridge the gap between industry and military leaders in order to ensure that our warfighters on the ground continue to receive the support they need and deserve.
McKeon has regularly worked to bolster missile defense programs, support funding for the F-22, and provide enhancements to effective, lighter-weight body armor and mine-resistant vehicles. He has fostered veteran resource programs for counseling, vocational training, and college education.
Prior to serving as the lead Republican on HASC, McKeon was the top Republican on the Education and Labor Committee for close to three years, where he advanced conservative policies supporting school choice, teacher quality and accountability, and higher education access and affordability.
In early 2006, McKeon ran the committee as chairman, replacing Rep. John Boehner (R-OH), who stepped down after becoming House Majority Leader.
Before that, McKeon headed the House Subcommittee on 21st Century Competitiveness, which examined issues such as higher education, technology in education, teacher training, job training, and welfare reform. In this role, McKeon helped negotiate the formula that resulted in interest rates for the federal student loan program dropping to their lowest level in 38 years. McKeon still serves as a senior member of the Education and Labor Committee.
His leadership in cutting federal spending and reducing taxes also has been noted by several national organizations, including the National Taxpayers Union and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. In addition to his official committees, McKeon is also a member of:
ï¿½ The Republican Study Committee: This influential group of more than 100 conservative Republicans advances a conservative social and economic agenda in the House. It is also an independent research arm for Republicans.
ï¿½ Republican New Media Caucus: As co-chairman of this group, McKeon is working to help his fellow GOP lawmakers expand online communications and reach Americans who are shifting from traditional media outlets, such as newspapers and TV, to the ï¿½newï¿½ media of the Internet to receive news.
ï¿½ Congressional Unmanned Systems Caucus: As founder of the Caucus McKeon is helping to educate members of Congress and the public on the strategic, tactical, and scientific value of UAVs. McKeon actively supports further development of UAV's and hopes to more effectively engage the civilian aviation community on UAV use and safety.
McKeon was born Sept. 9, 1938, in Los Angeles. He grew up in Tujunga, CA and graduated from Verdugo Hills High School in 1956. After serving a two and a half year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, he attended Brigham Young University.
After several semesters, however, McKeon took a hiatus from his studies. During this time, he married his wife, Patricia, started a family, and began his career as a businessman in the Santa Clarita Valley, located in the northern part of Los Angeles County.
He was soon involved in his community through such organizations as the Boy Scouts, Little League, the Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital Board, and the Chamber of Commerce, among others.
It was three decades later that McKeon returned to college and earned his bachelorï¿½s degree in 1985, together with his eldest daughter. It is for this reason that McKeon is often praised by adult literacy groups. Later, in 2002, he received an honorary doctorate of humane letters from Strayer University.
Before coming to Congress in 1992, McKeon served on the William S. Hart Union High School District Board of Trustees from 1978 to 1987. During that time, the city of Santa Clarita was incorporated and its citizens selected McKeon as a member of the City Council.
It was during the councilï¿½s first meeting that its members selected McKeon as Santa Claritaï¿½s first mayor. During his tenure on the City Council, Santa Clarita expanded its sheriffï¿½s and parks programs and earned a reputation as one of the safest cities in America.
The McKeons have six children and 30 grandchildren and live in Santa Clarita.