Better Off Now: What it means to have a stronger military

Aug 07, 2018 | Communications •

Our military is Better Off Now than it was two years ago.

Let’s paint a picture of what was happening two years ago. There was growing instability in the Middle East, with the attacks creeping into Europe. The previous November, terrorists attacked a concert in Paris, killing 137 and injuring more than 300. In March, three bombings occurred in Brussels at the airport and in the public transit system, killing 35 and injuring more than 300. And around this time in July, a truck drove through a crowd in Nice, France, killing 87 and injuring more than 400.

Here at home, a man who pledged allegiance to ISIL opened fire in an Orlando nightclub, killing 49 and wounding 53 others.

These were jarring moments. They shocked us. Because terrorism was no longer a far off threat – it was becoming a frequent presence in our own backyard.

They were also stark reminders of our nation’s need to be ready for any attack — traditional or otherwise. But after years of neglect, our Armed Forces were overstretched and depleted, creating a military readiness crisis that has cost service member lives.

The world looked to us for leadership and help. The American people looked to President Obama for hope.

But instead of stepping up on the world stage, President Obama stepped back, allowing destructive forces to fill that void. It created humanitarian crises not seen since World War II, and left Americans more at risk than at any time since 9/11.  

So House Republicans stepped up and two years ago, we unveiled our Better Way to Keep Us Safe and Free, with the goal of beginning a historic effort to rebuild our military, fix the VA, and take on rogue regimes around the world.

With new investments in training, equipment, and personnel, we have worked with this new administration to begin to reverse the damage of the last decade and reassert the dominance of the American military. And the FY19 National Defense Authorization Act expected to be signed into law this week will introduce additional new reforms designed to speed decision making and improve military agility, while simultaneously restoring readiness and increasing capability and capacity in a force that has been asked to do too much with too little for too long.

We’ve made improvements, but there’s more work to be done to help our troops and combat growing threats around the world. That’s why President Trump is about to sign the FY19 National Defense Authorization Act, and the House has passed funding for the Department of Defense (currently awaiting action in the Senate).

Want to learn more about House Republicans’ work to rebuild our military? Visit Better.gop.

What House Republicans have passed to put America first:

FY 2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) (H.R. 5515)

  • This bill takes the crucial next steps to rebuilding our military and reforming the Pentagon. This legislation authorizes the $80 billion increase in defense spending approved by Congress. It increases funding for troop readiness and rebuilding our military, and includes a 2.6% pay raise for our troops.

FY 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) (H.R. 2810) (Signed into Law)

  • The bill authorized funding for the Department of Defense so our service men and women have the tools and resources they need to defend our nation. Funding these core defense requirements such as personnel, training, maintenance, and procurement will help ensure our troops are ready and can fulfill their missions as safely and effectively as possible. The bill also authorized a 2.4% pay raise for the troops, increased end strength for the Active and Reserve forces, improved the delivery of health care services, and ensured our service members and their families receive the benefits they deserve.

Fiscal Year 2019 Department of Defense Appropriations Act (H.R. 6157)

  • The bill totals $674.6 billion for the Department of Defense-consistent with the National Defense Authorization Act and the recent budget agreement. This funding will continue to rebuild our Armed Forces, restore military readiness, and care for our service members and their families, including full funding for the largest troop pay raise in nine years.

Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018  (H.R. 1625) (Signed into Law)

  • The bill provided $654.6 billion for the Department of Defense, the largest investment in our armed forces in 15 years, and funded a 2.4 percent pay raise for our troops.

Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act  (H.R. 3364) (Signed into Law)

  • Imposes sweeping sanctions on Russia, Iran, and North Korea for threatening their neighbors and undermining U.S. national security.

Otto Warmbier North Korea Sanctions Act (H.R. 3898)

  • Named after a U.S. student who died after he was imprisoned in North Korea, this bill would strengthen and expand existing sanctions and Congress’s oversight of North Korea sanctions.

Iran Ballistic Missiles and International Sanctions Enforcement Act (H.R. 1698)

  • Mandates the president impose sanctions on foreign persons and entities involved with Iran’s ballistic missile program and those who provide or receive conventional weapons from Iran.

Iran Human Rights and Hostage-Taking Accountability Act (H.R. 4744)

  • Increase sanctions on the Iranian regime for egregious human rights violations. It will impose sanctions on Iranian officials and their family members responsible for politically motivated detentions of U.S. citizens and residents, or abuses against Iranian expatriates.

Iranian Leadership Asset Transparency Act (H.R. 1638)

  • Requires the Department of the Treasury to release an annual report of funds or assets held, directly or indirectly, by specific Iranian officials. This is an effort to prevent the financing of terrorism, money laundering, and to make financial institutions’ required compliance with remaining sanctions more easily understood.

Strengthening Oversight of Iran’s Access to Finance Act (H.R. 4324)

  • Requires the Department of the Treasury to report to the Congress on the financing of aircraft purchases by Iran. It directs the Secretary of the Treasury to certify whether or not those transactions involve activities that could be sanc­tioned under current law.

Hezbollah International Financing Prevention Amendments Act (H.R. 3329)

  •  Further ramps up pressure on entities that provide weapons to the terrorist organization Hezbollah. Targets Hezbollah’s fundraising and recruiting efforts-including its attempts to crowdsource small donations to support its fighters.

Sanctioning Hezbollah’s Illicit Use of Civilians as Defenseless Shields Act (H.R. 3342)

  • Identifies and sanctions Hezbollah commanders complicit in or responsible for ordering or directing the use of human shields. Extends sanctions to those who provide material support to those involved in this significant human rights abuse.