U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and Chairman of the Subcommittee on Readiness, made the following statement after the Senate passed a bipartisan deal to fund the government and increase defense spending. The bill will now go to the House of Representatives for their consideration.
“Today, the Senate fulfilled its most important obligation—to provide for our national defense. Because of this legislation, our troops will get paid, our pilots will be able to fly more training hours and we will finally address the maintenance and modernization backlog that has grounded over 60 percent of our Navy F/A-18s and rendered all but 5 of our brigade combat teams unable to fight tonight. This bill ensures that our national defense will be funded for the remainder of the fiscal year at the full $700 billion authorized by the FY18 NDAA. These resources will go a long way—but we cannot afford to let our military funding be held hostage again at the end of this two year budget deal. Congress must return to regular order so we can continue to rebuild our military and rein in our spending on social programs.”
Secretary of Defense James Mattis, during Wednesday’s White House Press Briefing: “We need Congress to lift the defense spending caps and support a two-year budget agreement for our military…. We expect the men and women of our military to be faithful in their service even when going in harm's way. We have a duty to remain faithful to them.”
The defense community in Oklahoma praised Sen. Inhofe’s work to secure stable, long-term defense spending in the budget agreement as well:
Bill Burgess, Oklahoma Civil Assistant to Secretary of the Army: “Sen. Inhofe has been a consistent and powerful voice in the Senate on the importance of long-term, stable funding for our military. This budget deal is a testament to his tenacity in fighting for our men and women in uniform, like those at Fort Sill. This legislation will allow Fort Sill and other military installations to make necessary investments in training, maintenance and modernization to protect American families.”
Michael Cooper, Chairman, Oklahoma Strategic Military Planning Commission: “This two year defense budget deal is a God send for our national defense. After years of budget uncertainty, our Defense Department will be able to maintain deteriorating infrastructure, adequately size our forces, maintain and replace wore out equipment and make necessary changes to processes to fight and win our nation’s wars. Oklahoma is extremely thankful for Senator Inhofe’s steady and forceful efforts to get this done!”
Randy Young, Director of Military Aviation and Aerospace for the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber: “The Senate two-year budget deal providing increased DOD spending levels is absolutely critical to our national security. It is critically important to Oklahoma and our military installations including Tinker Air Force Base. Tinker contributes over $3.5 billion of economic impact annually to Oklahoma and our community in the form of jobs, contracts and various levels of spending. Tinker AFB is a major player in national security providing critical maintenance, repair and overhaul services to frontline systems such as the B-1 and B-52 Bombers, KC-135 Air Refueling Tanker and the E-3 AWACS keeping them in the fight. Tinker will also be home to future mission critical systems including the KC-46 Air Refueling Tanker and the B-21 Long Range Strike Bomber. After years of dealing with reduced funding because of sequester limitations and funding uncertainty due to the frequent use of short term funding bills, continuing resolutions, this spending bill finally provides the resources and continuity to effectively resolve maintenance backlogs and readiness issues.”
Dr. Joe Leverett, Chairman, Altus Military Affairs Committee: “I am grateful for the tremendous support and leadership to our nation’s defense readiness and capabilities from Senator Jim Inhofe. The men and women in our nation’s armed forces deserve our absolute best effort. Support for the Senate two-year budget agreement will deliver essential funding for the KC-46A training at Altus AFB, stabilize military construction funding for KC-46A infrastructure and deliver the Altus AFB Fire Emergency and Training Center.”