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March 25, 2020

SASC Chairman Inhofe Statement on Defense Priorities in CARES Act

U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, praised the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act for prioritizing critical funding and much-needed authorities to protect Department of Defense personnel and bolster national defense throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

The CARES Act, which passed the Senate 96-0, includes a total of $10.5 billion in emergency appropriations for the Department of Defense, as well as significant authorities to provide flexibility and support to the defense industrial base.

“COVID-19 has affected the day-to-day lives of every single American. While we face so many other threats, we can’t let it weaken our national defense as well.

“As Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman, I am glad the Senate acted tonight to give the Pentagon nearly $11 billion to manage the response to COVID-19, to protect and care for our service members and their families, and to minimize its impacts on our defense industrial base – and, by extension, the overall readiness of our military. 

“The Department of Defense has a three-fold responsibility here: to protect our troops and their families, to defend our nation and to support the whole-of-government response to this pandemic. They have been working tirelessly to do all three. This bill will give the Department the tools and resources it needs to continue these efforts, including supporting the Navy’s hospital ships Mercy and Comfort, and injecting $1 billion for Defense Production Act to help with pandemic recovery.

“In particular, I want to highlight the flexibility we are providing to the Pentagon to support the defense industrial base, especially mission-critical small businesses, subcontractors and workforces, both in Oklahoma and across the country. 

“In addition, we cannot and will not forget about our men and women in uniform and their families. As we’ve watched COVID-19 cases increase among military personnel, it’s clear we need to be prepared to respond to cover DOD’s higher medical costs – and do our best to prevent the disease from spreading further. I continue to urge everyone to follow the health protection guidelines issued by the president and public health experts.”

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