Speaker Ryan’s Floor Remarks on Keeping the Promise to Our Armed Forces

John Boehner

WASHINGTON—Today, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) delivered the following remarks on the House floor in support of the National Defense Authorization Act, which passed today with overwhelming bipartisan support:

“Mr. Speaker, this is a very busy week in the House.

“I just came to the floor from a ceremony where I just signed three major pieces of legislation that are now headed to the president’s desk to become law.

“This House has been very busy keeping its promises: to unleash our economy, to take care of our veterans, to provide hope for the terminally ill. We just signed those three things that are now on their way to the president’s desk.  

“But perhaps the most important promise that we made was the one that we made to the men and women who serve in our Armed Forces.

“We promised to start rebuilding our military. To give them the resources that they needed to do their jobs. To reassert the United States’ dominance in our military, in the world.

“After tax reform, that was my most important legislative priority, because that was our most important legislative priority. And, Mr. Chairman, it is another promise kept.

“Earlier this year, we enacted a historic increase in military funding, made possible by the bipartisan budget agreement that came before it.

“This allowed us to advance the bill that we have before us right here today.

“I want to thank the members of the Armed Services Committee—the ranking member—but I especially want to thank Chairman Thornberry for his work on this bill and his tireless advocacy for our men and women in uniform.

“This National Defense Authorization—it presents another major step toward rebuilding and reforming our military. It will repair the damage done over the previous decade.

“It starts with readiness. It starts with readiness because this country has had a readiness crisis that has been costing us lives. More American servicemembers are being killed in accidents and training exercises than on the battlefield.

“As Secretary Mattis put it, he was shocked by the poor state of our readiness. We must reverse that.

“So this bill invests in training. This bill invests in equipment. It grows the size of all branches of our military. And it prioritizes missile defense and our nuclear deterrent.

“It’s a very dangerous world, and this legislation will help us counter the threats, whether they’re new or traditional—whether from China or Russia or Iran or North Korea.

“But like I said, we are not just rebuilding our military, we are reforming our military.

“The legislation streamlines the bureaucracy and improves the buying practices so that we are not devoting more resources to what wastes, we are devoting more resources to what counts: keeping this country strong and keeping this country safe.

“And of course, we are taking care of our servicemembers and their families with the biggest pay raise for our troops in nine years.

“I am so proud of this legislation. I am so proud of our legislators. I’m so proud of the chairmen for making this moment possible.

“Here we are, not just keeping our promise, but making this a better, stronger, safer United States.

“This will have a lasting impact and this will ensure that America continues to lead in the 21st century.

“I thank the chairmen and the members of the committee. And I urge adoption of this bill.” 

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