WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, today made the following statement on the passage of the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2008 (H.R. 1585): 
“Supporting the military and providing for our national defense are among my top priorities as a Member of Congress,” Senator Inhofe said.  “Though I am strongly opposed to the controversial hate-crimes legislation included in the Defense Authorization Act, our military is in desperate need of other critical authorizations in the bill.  This legislation authorizes $648.3 billion for national defense programs, including ongoing operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the War on Terrorism.  It also authorizes full funding of programs such as the Joint Strike Fighter and the Future Combat System as well as increases active-duty end strengths of the Army and Marine Corps.  Additionally, the bill authorizes a 3.5 percent across-the-board pay raise for our military.  Several of my amendments, including legislation extending educational benefits to qualified Reservists impacted by force shaping measures and legislation transferring three retired C-130E aircraft to the Government of Iraq, are also included in the bill. 
“I urge the members of the conference committee for the Defense Authorization bill to remove the contentious hate-crimes language, allowing a bill that otherwise provides vital legislation for our national defense to become law.”