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Huizenga: This Defense Bill Hurts West Michigan, Fails to Properly Support Our Troops and Defend Our Nation

Washington, July 12, 2019
Today, Congressman Bill Huizenga (MI-02) released the following statement after voting against a highly partisan defense bill that fails to properly supply our troops, inadequately defends our nation, and negatively impacts West Michigan manufacturing. 

“For nearly 60 years, Republicans and Democrats have been able to put political differences aside and come together to support our men and women in uniform. I am sad to see this bipartisan approach end this year. The legislation put forward by the Majority reduces personnel accounts by $1.2 billion. By cutting the very account that funds troop pay, benefits, and housing, we are sending the wrong message to our men and women who are putting their lives on the line. Additionally, this legislation would allow for the transfer of terrorists  to prisons in the United States, places severe limitations on how the Department of Defense can help secure the border, and makes significant reductions to our nuclear modernization and recapitalization programs weakening our deterrent posture against both Russia and China.

“This misguided bill also favors prison labor over West Michigan’s workforce. The legislation would remove language that allows office furniture companies to fairly compete for Department of Defense contracts against Federal Prison Industries (FPI). Removing this provision would have a direct negative impact on manufacturing jobs in West Michigan. I have long stood against FPI’s use of special provisions to take contracts and jobs away from law-abiding citizens. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) is currently conducting a review of FPI. Until we have these findings, it would be a mistake for Congress to make policy changes to FPI until the GAO study is completed and its recommendations are made to Congress. 

“The Senate version of the National Defense Authorization Act does not include the language that is harmful to West Michigan and passed that legislative body by a vote of 86-8. The House needs to stop putting partisan politics ahead of sound policy. It is my hope that cooler heads will prevail and a bipartisan approach to keeping America safe can be restored. I believe we can properly defend our nation, care for our troops, and support hardworking Michiganders, however the legislation put forward by the House fails to do that.”
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