"I thank the gentleman from Ohio, and I want to think the gentleman from California for his leadership in bringing the NDAA bill to the floor. I want to salute Chairman McKeon on the tremendous work that he has displayed here and all that he has done in support of the men and women in uniform of our country.
“I rise today, Mr. Chairman, in strong support of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015.
“Regrettably events of the past year have demonstrated that the forces that threaten America's national security, the stability of our allies, and seek to subject millions to a tyranny that violates the most basic of human rights, are on the rise.
“A desperate dictator in Syria has used chemical weapons, a strongman in Venezuela is consolidating power, and Iran is inching closer to nuclear weapons and funding terrorism. North Korea continues to threaten America and our Pacific allies, and Russia recently invaded Ukraine.
“Now is not the time for the United States to recede from the global arena. Now is the time to lead and to project the strength that has protected America's interests for over half a century.
“An America that leads is an America with military power that cannot be matched, because at all times, we must be prepared to meet and confront challenges so that our homeland is protected, our allies are defended, and our enemies are defeated.
“On a Congressional delegation I led to Asia last month, I saw firsthand just how important it is for America to be engaged on the world stage.
“While in Japan, we toured the aircraft carrier, the USS George Washington. While aboard the ship, we met with its crew and heard directly from its Naval commanders, that the United States needs to have a ‘constant carrier presence in the region.’
“America provides our allies with much needed security and stability to a region that is threatened by a madman in North Korea, and has seen a provocative China become more aggressive with its neighbors, particularly in the South China Sea.
“The presence of our aircraft carrier is a vital part of guaranteeing that security, which in turn guarantees America's security. One of the Admirals even stated, ‘In the world we are going to be operating in, we simply must have the USS George Washington.’
“That is why I am so pleased that this bill begins to fund the refuel of the USS George Washington. Failing to do so would leave our allies in the region and throughout the world feeling vulnerable and embolden our enemies.
“In hundreds of other ways, today’s bill will provide our military with the resources it needs to remain the greatest fighting force in the world and keep America as a leader on the world stage.
“Since the time of the Revolution, my home state of Virginia has been a leader in contributing to our nation's security. In addition to the thousands of Virginians who wear the uniform and those members of the military stationed in Virginia, tens of thousands of Virginians work in industries directly tied to supporting our armed forces and our national defense. I am pleased this bill recognizes their efforts.
“Today, let us stand together and pass this bill in a bi-partisan fashion, and show the world that we are committed to being an America that leads.
“I want to thank the gentleman from California, Chairman Buck McKeon, for all of his hard work on this issue, along with his members of the Armed Services Committee. I urge my colleagues in the House to support this important bill.”