Rep. Turner says bipartisan support for National Defense Authorization Act outweighs politics

The National Defense Authorization Act provides strategic investments in equipment for the U.S. military which is critical to preserving national security and should not be held up based on partisan politics, said U.S. Rep. Mike Turner of Ohio.

The legislation for fiscal year 2016 authorizes $612 billion in funding for the military. The annual authorization bill often has bipartisan support, and the most recent iteration was no exception. Forty-one Democrats broke ranks with President Barack Obama, who has threatened a veto, and joined the Republican majority in passing the NDAA.

“Despite the president’s willingness to play partisan politics with our national security, the bipartisan support for the FY2016 NDAA in the House of Representatives displays our commitment to adequately funding our military, and providing them with the equipment they need to keep us safe,” Turner told the Ripon Advance.

Turner, a Republican, chairs the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Tactical Air and Land Forces.

The subcommittee ensured the NDAA’s inclusion of improved body armor and support for the F-35 program by authorizing additional aircraft and continued testing and development.

In addition, the subcommittee addressed aircraft needs of the Navy, including additional F A-18F Super Hornets. It also supports National Guard aviation programs and includes additional aircraft and upgrades to UH-60 Blackhawks.

In Turner’s home state of Ohio, the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base has faced crippling economic results from funding cuts that would be addressed by this NDAA. About half of the funding for the Air Force flows through Wright-Patterson, which is the largest air base in the nation. For this reason, the base is both an integral part of the nation’s security and of the community of Dayton.

“Furloughs and budget cuts continue to affect the day-to-day operations, yet Wright-Patt continues to work to protect our country,” Turner said. “The FY2016 NDAA funds our national defense and military commitments at what the chairman of the Joint Chiefs referred to as the ‘lower ragged edge’ of what our men and women in service need.”

In addition to funding, the NDAA is also a matter of protecting the homeland.

In recent years the development of missile defense sites both in America and overseas has stalled. With plans to develop a site in Poland cancelled, funding for adding an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile defense site on the East Coast is crucial, Turner said.

“I authored language in this year’s NDAA that directs the Department of Defense to designate a preferred location for the site, a key step in the development of this national defense asset, and a key step in protecting our nation,” he said.

The NDAA would remove the sweeping budget cuts imposed on the defense department by the controversial cost-cutting mechanism called sequestration. The president has threatened to veto any bill that leaves sequestration in effect on other domestic programs.

The political brinksmanship over a bipartisan piece of legislation so important to national security is unacceptable to Turner.

“The commitment to our national defense and the security of the American people must come first,” Turner said.