Today, the House of Representatives rejected by a vote of 394 to 30 the proposed Defense Authorization bill recommended by the House Armed Services Committee and their respective subcommittees due to not having enough missile defense funds. Shortly thereafter, the full House of Representatives passed by a vote of 397 to 27 an amendment to add $205M to the missile defense budget.
This “resubmit” and amendment to the bill was led by the Minority Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Ca) and included an overwhelming majority of Democratic votes. Prominent amongst those votes of “yea” were Chairman of Appropriations Dave Obey (D-Wi), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee Rep. Ike Skelton (D-Mo), Chairman of the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee Jack Murtha (D-Pa) and the Chairman of the Strategic Forces Subcommittee Rep. Ellen Tauscher (D-Ca).
This is a significant move and statement for our country’s missile defense program, as it shows a united front from our new Congress on missile defense up and beyond the Administration’s request to defend a close ally, a friend and a population from the real and dangerous threat of ballistic missiles.
The motion to recommit and the passed amendment was for three particular missile defense systems, the THAAD, the Arrow and the SRBMD “David Sling.” All three are near-term defense systems consisting of interceptors that work in the terminal phase of a ballistic missile’s flight. The THAAD, the most capable and with the most range, recently conducted its fifth straight successful intercept test last month in Kauai. The Arrow system is similar to the Patriot system but uses explosive energy instead of kinetic energy to destroy incoming missiles and the David Sling is a shorter range system that uses explosive head technology, as well. These three near-term systems are directed to enhance the existing missile defense systems of Patriot and Arrow systems deployed in Israel today from Iran, non-state actors such as Hezbollah, and others that choose to use terror or threats of coercion with missiles and rockets.
We applaud and endorse this bold initiative as missile defense continues to be an international solution that is required in the world we live in today. Funding and support of international programs and U.S. systems to protect our allies must be encouraged and supported as shown today. The more missile defense systems deployed the safer and more stable it is for the United States, our allies and our friends.
We ask that the United States Senate strongly consider what has transpired today in the House of Representatives as they make their decisions this upcoming week to defend, or not to defend, our allies, friends and deployed troops in Europe and the Middle East from ballistic missiles.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi was quoted as saying, “In passing the defense authorization bill today, the House acted to make our military stronger and the American people safer. I salute Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton and the members of his committee for an excellent bill that will contribute immeasurably to the nation’s defense.”