Weekly Republican Address: Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX)

Delivering the Weekly Republican Address is Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. Ahead of Memorial Day, Chairman Thornberry calls on President Obama to honor our troops by backing the National Defense Authorization Act, which the House passed last week.

To all who serve or have served, and to their families, Happy Memorial Day. Thank you.


Hello, I’m Mac Thornberry.  I’m privileged to represent the people of the Panhandle and North Texas in Congress and to chair the House Armed Services Committee.

In my job I get to spend a lot of time around the men and women who serve our nation in the military.  I’m continually in awe of their character, their courage, and their dedication to our country.

Since the beginning, the United States has been blessed with outstanding individuals who cared about something bigger than themselves and have fought – and some even died – for American security and American freedom.

This Memorial Day, we continue to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II.  The Greatest Generation took on one of the greatest evils the world has ever known, defeated it, and came home to build a nation.

But their achievement came at a heavy price.  On Memorial Day, all of us should take time to remember and to honor those who sacrificed their lives in answering the call of our country.

I think we have to do more than honor the fallen, however.  We have a duty to honor what they fought for, so that, in the words of Lincoln at Gettysburg, “we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain.”

The world today is full of turmoil.  Freedom and decency are still under assault.  ISIS, for example, poses a grave and direct threat to our security and our way of life.

No one knows how to solve all the problems of the world.  But one thing we do know for sure – the world is a safer, better place when the United States is militarily strong.  And a weakened America invites greater danger.

The Constitution endows Congress with specific responsibilities to help “provide for the common defense.”   For 53 straight years, Congresses of both parties have passed and presidents of both parties have signed into law a defense authorization act, which has helped to build that military strength that we need.  The House passed this year’s bill last week.  It gives our troops a raise and updates their benefits.  It eases our warfighters’ transition to the VA and it makes sure we get the most value possible for the taxpayer dollars.  The Senate will take up their version soon.

The House bill authorized exactly the amount the president requested to keep America safe.  But he wants more money for domestic programs and has threatened to veto the defense bill unless he gets it.

Look, we’re always going to have our differences, but it’s wrong for anyone to play politics with defense.  The world is too dangerous, and the men and women who serve are too precious for that.

We carry a debt to those who have served, and especially to those who have fallen, to focus just on doing what’s right for the country and what’s right for our troops, and we honor them best by building on their sacrifice to pass along to the next generation a country even stronger, even more prosperous, and even freer than we’ve enjoyed.

Of course, no one put it better than Ronald Reagan when he said, “and we owe them something…We owe them a promise to look at the world with a steady gaze and, perhaps, a resigned toughness, knowing that we have adversaries in the world and challenges and the only way to meet them and maintain the peace is by staying strong.”

When this Memorial Day’s passed, there will still be brave Americans stationed all over the world to protect us and our way of life.

To everyone who wears America’s colors and to everyone who ever has, and to their families, thank you.