View From the Capitol - Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler's Newsletter for the Week of June 10-14, 2013

Jun 14, 2013 Issues: Defense and National Security, Veterans

Good Day,

This week, the U.S. House approved the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) previously passed by the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) on which I serve. The legislation protects America’s national defense while providing for our men and women in uniform. Fittingly, the 52nd NDAA passed the House on Flag Day.

This NDAA holds true to the version that was approved by my colleagues and me on the Armed Services Committee, giving our military the funding it needs to address existing and emerging threats to our country while providing for our men and women in uniform by supporting a 1.8 percent pay raise. It also rejects Defense Department requests for increases in health care fees paid by our military personnel.

Fort Leonard Wood and Whiteman Air Force Base, combined, will benefit from more than $100 million in military construction funds approved as part of the base bill. At Fort Leonard Wood this will mean funding for a number of projects including a training barracks complex. Whiteman Air Force Base would receive funding for weapons storage areas and an Army National Guard aircraft maintenance hangar. The House-approved bill also includes a number of initiatives supporting tactical vehicle armor development, 3D integrated circuits, and nanotechnologies, just to name a few, incorporated in the bill.

I am very pleased the full House kept the HASC-approved language prohibiting the Department of Defense from proposing, planning, or initiating another round of Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC). This will go a long way toward easing the concerns of those working at and living near Fort Leonard Wood and Whiteman Air Force Base. They realize another round of BRAC could harm America’s ability to defend itself, waste scarce defense dollars, and result in economic uncertainty for communities near military installations throughout the country.

The NDAA now goes to the Senate for its consideration.

Earlier in the week I spoke to members of the Belton Raymore Optimist Club to offer an update on how I was fighting for them in Washington and to listen to their ideas and concerns.

I appreciate the common sense of the people of Missouri’s Fourth District and consider it a privilege to take those ideas back to D.C. to preserve America’s greatness for future generations. The members of the Belton Raymore Optimist Club shared important insights, and I appreciate their hospitality.

On another matter, I issued a call this week for U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to resign from office.

The U.S. Attorney General is the chief law enforcement officer of this country and is responsible for ensuring federal laws are enforced. But Attorney General Eric Holder has let the American people down by failing to perform the duties of his office.

There are numerous occasions in which Attorney General Holder has not upheld his duties to the American people. They include his overseeing of the Fast and Furious gun-running scandal in which a U.S. Border Patrol agent was killed. Additionally, the seizure of Associated Press reporters’ phone records and the abusive search of Fox News correspondent James Rosen’s personal email and phone records happened on the Attorney General’s watch. In fact, reports indicate that it was the Attorney General who personally approved the decision to falsely name Mr. Rosen ‘an aider and abettor and/or co-conspirator’ in a case of leaked classified materials.

In some cases, Mr. Holder has been personally negligent; in others, he has not adequately overseen the actions of the department he heads. Whether it’s negligence or lack of oversight, Attorney General Holder is clearly not up to the task of performing the duties of this powerful and important office. Mr. Holder must do the right thing and step down immediately. The American people deserve better.

Have a good week.

Vicky