Monday, June 29, 2009

Congressman Trent Franks Offers Amendment to Fully Restore Vital Missile Defense Funding

Democrats Chose to Cut the Only System that is Proven to Defend the Homeland from ICBMs

June 26, 2009 - Congressman Trent Franks (AZ-02), the founder and co-chairman of the House Missile Defense Caucus, yesterday offered an amendment to H.R. 2647, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010, on the floor of the House of Representatives. The amendment sought to restore the $1.2 billion for vital missile defense programs that was slashed from last year’s appropriated amount. The amendment was defeated by a vote of 171 to 244.

"The threat from ballistic missiles is steadily increasing and the scope of the ballistic missile defense system is decreasing. Without this amendment, the Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system, based in Alaska andCalifornia, suffers a 35 percent cut in funding, while the number of planned ground-based interceptors is reduced by one-third. By rejecting this amendment, the majority of Democrats chose to cut the only system that has been proven able to defend the homeland from an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) -- the very threat we face from North Korea today.

Just this week, North Korea declared it is prepared to 'wipe out' the United States, in the event of escalated violence on the Korean Peninsula, and Japanese intelligence sources report a likely North Korean ICBM launch toward the United States in early July.

The Administration and the Majority on the Armed Services Committee increased theater defense at the expense of homeland defense. They have essentially presented the Congress with a artificial choice: should we fund one kind of defense or the other? If this Congress can find $787 billion for a so called 'economic stimulus' package, we can certainly afford $1.2 billion to protect our troops, our allies, and the American people from a ballistic missile attack.

In the face of present threats, this Congress was given two opportunities to restore critical missile defense funding through this amendment and the Republican's Motion to Recommit -- both were voted down. In so doing, this Congress has shown an unbelievably dangerous disregard for reality, thereby reducing our ability to respond to an increasingly complex threat and making us more vulnerable to ballistic missile attacks. Such fleeting political 'victories' have no place in the public forum and hold potentially grave consequences for America's national security."

The Franks Amendment would have fully restored to the Ballistic Missile Defense System the $1.2 billion cut by the Obama Administration. The amendment detailed the worldwide threats currently posed by short, medium, and long-range ballistic missiles, and included authorization to fully fund the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system and emplace all 44 interceptors. The amendment also funded the Airborne Laser, the Kinetic Energy Interceptor, the Multiple Kill Vehicle, and the Space Tracking and Surveillance System -- all systems that were cut in this year's president's budget request.

According to industry analysts, the Obama Administration's cuts will result in the loss of 11,000 American jobs.

Congressman Franks is serving his fourth term in the U.S. House of Representatives, and is a member of the Committee on Armed Services, Strategic Forces Subcommittee, Oversight & Investigations Subcommittee, Military Readiness Subcommittee, Committee on the Judiciary, Constitution Subcommittee, and is Ranking Member on the Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law.

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