The Preamble to our Constitution tasks Congress with the job of providing for our common defense. As a member of the House Armed Services Committee, I believe that entails ensuring that our nation's men and women in the Armed Forces are well-equipped and well-trained for the difficult task that we entrust them with.
That's why I was proud to cast my vote last month in favor of the National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA. To put it plainly, over the last eight years, our military resources and readiness have dwindled to a discomfortingly low level. As a result, U.S. troops are now more likely to die in “peacetime” accidents than in combat.
This new plan for our military's future will invest in not only its infrastructure and equipment but also in our service members themselves.
I'm happy that the House was able to include the first pay increase for our troops in nearly the past decade. After all, those who sacrifice so much for our nation should be better trained, better prepared and better compensated.
As a fiscal conservative, I know that it is not enough to demand proper funding levels for our nation's military but that we must also ensure every tax dollar is spent properly and, most importantly, wisely. Within this plan, Congress was able to cut through the bureaucratic red tape, increase oversight and transparency on spending and provide much-needed changes to the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) health care system - potentially saving taxpayers billions of dollars.
For too long, our veterans have encountered challenges in navigating the VA for their health care. The VA has become a maze of bureaucratic red tape and government mandated hoops for our heroes to jump through. This is unacceptable and our veterans deserve better. These men and women fought for us and now we must fight for them by keeping the promises we have made.
Finally, right here at home in North Missouri, as a result of this legislation, we can expect to see the modernization of the C-130H aircraft based out of Rosecrans Air National Guard Base in St. Joseph. These modernization efforts will increase the lifespan of these aircraft, which are some of the most critical to our military. The C-130H serves on the front lines of combat around the world as well as providing critical humanitarian support as we have seen with the 139th Airlift Wing’s recent hurricane relief efforts in Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico.
The defense spending bill ensures our military will continue to be the strongest fighting force in the world and I was extremely pleased that President Trump signed it into law earlier this week.