Reps. Bacon and Cheney Discuss Military Readiness at Leadership Stakeout

Reps. Don Bacon (R-NE) and Liz Cheney (R-WY) joined House Republican Leadership at the weekly Stakeout to discuss the gaps in military readiness that are jeopardizing service member’s lives — and our national security.

House Republicans continue to focus on the American people’s priorities, including strengthening the military, giving our men and women in uniform the resources they need, and setting the United States on a path toward a safer, stronger America.

Rep. Liz Cheney:

“There is no more important or even, frankly, sacred obligation then those of us who are elected have than to provide for the defense of this nation. We are facing a complex and grave national security environment. One that features more significant threats than at any time since before World War II.

“And we are not in a situation today where you can just say, ‘conflict is coming, conflict is on the horizon.’ In many ways conflict is here. We’ve got adversaries that are probing, attacking us across a whole variety of measures and means. For far too long because of the policies the Obama administration, in particular, because of inconsistent funding from Congress, we have been in a situation where our military has been starved.

“The Obama administration policies left us with an army that was smaller than at any time since World War II, a Navy smaller than at any time since World War I, and an Air Force that was the smallest and oldest in history. So because of the work of Speaker Ryan, because of the work of our Leadership, because of the work of Chairman Thornberry, we are now in a position where that can end. And that’s why we must pass this omnibus, and, frankly, we must come to agreement.

“We must stop talking, we must move to appropriate the funds that we agreed to in the budget deal and in the caps deal several weeks ago. It is simply too dire a situation for us to wait any longer and we can’t continue to ask our men and women in uniform to put their lives on the line, to make the ultimate sacrifice, unfortunately, in some cases, without the very best resources and equipment.

“Our adversaries’ capabilities have been increasing and our own have been decreasing. Passing this omnibus is the way to begin to change that and to turn it around so I urge all of my colleagues to move to vote yes on this omnibus.”

Rep. Don Bacon:

“I’m Don Bacon. I served nearly 30 years in the Air Force, 16 assignments, retired as a one-star, and I saw the military’s performance and capabilities decline, particularly over the last 5-10 years when I served there. And it’s something, when I ran as a challenger in 2016, I said this is a #1 priority.

“When you look at what’s happened to our military, we’ve cut it 18 percent going back since 2010. While we are fighting two wars we have a worldwide presence and obligation. Our fighter pilots are flying 11 hours a month to prepare for deployment. That’s one-third of what they should be flying. We have 58 combat brigades in the army, only five are ready to fight tonight. And when you look at the Navy, only half of the Navy’s aircraft are ready to fly any given day. And we can give you statistic after statistic.

“Our military should be second to none and when you have your four-stars saying our readiness levels are the worst they’ve seen on paper since 1977, it demands action. I believe in peace through strength, I believe in deterrence and this bill that we’re going to hopefully pass, I think we will, will fix our military. We’re going to get a 10 percent increase, if we hold that with inflation for three or four years we will get our military healthy again. Deterrence will be served. We’re going to improve our funding on cyber, missile defense. We’re going to grow the number of people that are serving so that the burden is shared.

“I know people in Offutt Air Force Base who have deployed 25 times. That is hard on families and we have got to do better. This’ll be the first pay raise that we’re going to see that matches inflation in over a decade for our servicemen and women. It’s important for our families. We’re going to start adding more stealth aircraft, start building towards the Navy of 355 ships.

“I’m excited about what we are doing. This is our #1 responsibility and I am excited to have been a part of it and I want to thank the Leadership for putting the emphasis on this and I look forward to supporting this bill.”