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Chairman Yarmuth's Opening Statement at Hearing on Department of Defense FY 2023 Budget

Apr 27, 2022

WASHINGTON, D.C.Today, Kentucky Congressman John Yarmuth, Chair of the House Budget Committee, gave the following opening statement at today’s hearing with Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller)/Chief Financial Officer Michael J. McCord on the Department of Defense Fiscal Year 2023 Budget. Remarks as prepared and video are below:

Good morning, everyone. I want to welcome back Under Secretary Michael McCord to our committee. Thank you for joining us today for this hearing on the Department of Defense Fiscal Year 2023 Budget. As the first person to be Comptroller at DoD twice — and with your decades-long career of service including time on the staff of the House Budget Committee — your insights are particularly helpful to the work of this Committee.

I would like to begin this hearing by acknowledging our deep and enduring gratitude to those who serve our nation in uniform. We understand that Congress has a constitutional and moral responsibility to ensure that our servicemembers are supported, on and off the battlefield — and that their families are cared for every step of the way.

That is why the Biden Budget provides members of our military with the largest pay increase in a generation. It funds a newly authorized basic needs allowance. It invests $12.2 billion to build more housing and medical facilities for military families, and prioritizes programs that directly support military spouses, children, and other dependents. And it dedicates nearly $500 million to fully fund and implement vital programs to prevent and respond to sexual assault in the military.

The Biden Budget also ensures that the Department of Defense has the resources necessary to uphold our national security and protect our people at home and abroad.  It does not aimlessly increase spending for its own sake without accountability or strategic rationale. It provides the smart investments that will make our country safer and meet the requests of experts in charge.

This budget is also forward-looking. It provides more than $130 billion for Research & Development to harness next-generation defense capabilities — the largest request on record. It invests in new technologies and includes $3.1 billion in funding to combat the destabilizing effects of the climate crisis and ensure our military installations are resilient against climate disasters. This is critical to our national defense — in a 2019 report, the Pentagon found that 46 of our nation’s 79 high-priority military installations are vulnerable to climate change-related flooding, drought, desertification, and wildfires.

President Biden also recognizes that ensuring America’s national security extends far beyond our efforts to build weapons and military might. It is also about leveraging our power through diplomacy and deterrence. While these investments are not directly part of DoD’s budget, they are a crucial part of the President’s overall National Defense Strategy — and rightly so. 

As General James Mattis said in response to former President Trump’s budget that slashed funding for the State Department, “If you don’t fund the State Department fully, then I need to buy more ammunition ultimately.” He was President Trump’s Secretary of Defense when he said that. And I would add that we don’t just save money by investing in diplomacy, we save lives by keeping members of our Armed Forces out of harm’s way. 

This is a whole-of-government approach to national security. It’s a budget that increases funding for the State Department, and includes vital investments to strengthen NATO and support our European allies in the face of Russian aggression, to advance cybersecurity, and to maintain strong and credible deterrents.

On all counts, President Biden’s budget reflects the much-needed return of U.S. global leadership; a commitment not only to our democratic allies but the democratic values our nation was founded upon, and the assurance that no dictator will have a foothold in this White House.

Finally, let me stress again that this budget meets the needs articulated by the experts in charge of our national defense. If your argument is that we should fund the military at a level higher than Pentagon leaders say they need, then you have the burden of making the case that the world's most renowned defense experts are inept or intentionally undercutting our military. I don't think anyone here today can come close to making that point.

To close, I’ll quote Defense Secretary Austin. He said, “We need resources matched to strategy, strategy matched to policy, and policy matched to the will of the American people. This budget gives us the resources we need to deliver on that promise.”

Under Secretary McCord, I look forward to hearing how the budget accomplishes this. Thank you again for your testimony and for appearing before our committee today.

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