Our congressman, Pete Stark, is the bee's knees. He voted against the wasteful defense spending bill. Of course, bills tend to package in a mixed bag of pieces, and he wanted to make sure that he was in favor of repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." This is his statement, which I think is worth reading.
MR. STARK: Madam Speaker, I rise to oppose out of control war and defense spending. This bill (H.R. 5136) would authorize a record $726 billion for defense. Congress refuses to find money to maintain COBRA premium assistance for jobless workers, but somehow we can afford yet another increase to our already bloated defense budget.
We should recognize that this legislation would fix a long-standing injustice by creating a path for the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” I was proud to vote for the Murphy Amendment and I look forward to the day when LGBT Americans enjoy equal rights in all facets of society, including marriage. Although I strongly support the repeal of "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell," I cannot vote for this legislation.
The waste in this bill is shameful. It includes $361.6 million more than the Pentagon wants for a missile defense program that doesn't work, and $485 million in funding for another engine for a fighter jet that already has a working engine. I offered an amendment that would have cut the extra funding for missile defense, but it was not allowed to come to the floor for a vote. An amendment to strike money for a duplicative engine that the Pentagon doesn't want or need was also defeated.
Congress needs to get our priorities in order. We should be working to create jobs and assisting those impacted by the recession, not continue runaway defense spending. I urge all of my colleagues to oppose this wasteful bill.