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Chairman Yarmuth Opening Statement at Hearing on DoD 2020 Budget

Mar 27, 2019

Washington, D.C.— Kentucky Congressman John Yarmuth, Chairman of the House Budget Committee, gave the following opening statement at today’s hearing on President Trump’s 2020 budget request for the Department of Defense (DoD) with David Norquist, Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller)/Chief Financial Officer and Performing the Duties of Deputy Secretary for the DoD. Remarks as prepared are below:

Welcome to Under Secretary of Defense Comptroller David Norquist, who is here to testify on the Department of Defense’s 2020 budget. I would like to recognize that you are also performing the duties of Deputy Secretary of Defense and are here in that capacity as well.

It has been almost five years since DoD has appeared before this committee, so this hearing is long past due.

We all agree that we need a military that is second to none. But securing our nation requires a comprehensive strategy, which includes nondefense activities. We must begin by raising budget caps as soon as possible.

Unfortunately, the President ignores this immediate need and instead uses a dishonest OCO gimmick to increase defense spending while cutting non-defense investments critical to our national and economic security. This jeopardizes homeland security, diplomacy, veterans’ services, law enforcement, food safety, disease prevention and control, and other vital programs.

The President’s apparent unwillingness to reach a deal to increase budget caps sets the stage for more continuing resolutions, or worse, another shutdown. We have heard repeatedly from DoD about the harm to our troops and department operations caused by continuing resolutions.

Under Secretary Norquist, I realize the tremendous responsibility shouldered by you and your department. Securing the safety of the American people and maintaining the best interest of our troops is no easy job – especially when the Commander in Chief places his personal political objectives above our national security.

I look forward to your testimony.

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