HAWK: Today, Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) and Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.) offered amendments to the "stimulus" bill that would increase defense spending. The Inhofe amendment would allocate $5.3 billion for equipment, infrastructure, and personnel, while the Cornyn amendment would provide $2 billion primarily for National Guard and Reserve forces. Both senators proposed cutting other programs in the "stimulus" bill to offset the cost of their amendments. (See Thomas Donnelly on the case for a defense stimulus here.)
Inhofe's prepared floor remarks are after the jump.
Investing in our nation's defense provides thousands of sustainable American jobs and provides for our nation's security. Major defense procurement programs are all manufactured in the US with our aerospace industry alone employing more than 655,000 workers spread across over most of the US.
At the end of last month, conservative economist Martin Feldstein wrote in the Post about the "$800 Billion Mistake" referring to this stimulus bill. In that article, he pointed out the value of infrastructure spending on domestic military bases.
In fact, it is clear that infrastructure investment, along with defense spending and tax cuts, has a greater stimulative impact on the economy than anything else the government can do.
That is what I am trying to do with this amendment. My amendment increases defense procurement spending by $5,300,000,000 to manufacture or acquire vehicles, equipment, ammunition, and materials required to reconstitute military units.
It appropriates, with a full offset within the bill, $5,232,000,000 for procurement for the Department of Defense to reconstitute military units to an acceptable level of readiness.
This funding will go to procurement of aircraft, tracked and non-tracked combat vehicles, missiles, weapons, ammunition, communications equipment, maintenance equipment, naval coastal warfare boats, salvage equipment, riverine equipment, expeditionary material handling equipment, and other expeditionary items.
It doesn't increase the cost of the bill by identifying proposals in this bill which highlight a part of the frivolous spending. These offsets include:
-$20 million for fish passage barrier removal,
-$20 million for trail improvements,
-$25 million for habitat restoration,
-$34 million to renovate the Department of Commerce,
-$600 million for the federal government to buy cars - specifically hybrid and battery cars,
-$13 million to research volunteer activities,
-$650 million in coupons for digital TV (DTV) transition,
-$70 million for a support computer for climate change research,
-$1 billion for Census,
-$850 million for Amtrak, and
-$2 billion reduction from $6 billion to use "green technology" to revamp federal office buildings.
This is a common sense amendment with real stimulative impact.