This week, The House of Representatives passed H.R. 2029, the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Act. This bill provides funds for military construction and funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs. U.S. Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Texas) introduced an amendment to this bill that would prohibit any funds from being used for an additional round of BRAC (base realignment and closure). His amendment passed by voice vote.
“I’m grateful to offer this bipartisan amendment, which would simply prohibit any funds made available in the act from being used to propose, plan for, or execute a new or additional round of BRAC,” said Ratcliffe.
“I’m honored to represent the 4th Congressional District of Texas, which is home to the Red River Army Depot. The Depot has supported the war fighter since 1941. It is a vital job creator for northeast Texas, and a critical component of our national defense,” Ratcliffe added.
“In this fiscal environment, we must be careful stewards of taxpayer dollars and focus our limited resources on addressing critical national security objectives and military readiness. Having another round of BRAC will not help us achieve this goal. Starting another round of BRAC would weaken our capabilities and increase our vulnerability in the face of critical threats facing our nation.”
Dennis Lewis, Commissioner for the Texas Military Preparedness Commission applauded U.S. Rep. Ratcliffe’s actions:
“It is important we keep the focus of Red River Army Depot on its mission, supporting the readiness of our fighting forces. Prohibiting the use of funds to plan for an additional round of BRAC allows the depot to focus on its mission without the distraction of worrying about the potential consequences of a BRAC,” said Lewis.
“If the Congress has extra money to spend, they need to spend it on readiness, not funding the planning for another round of BRAC. I strongly support Congressman Ratcliffe’s amendment.”
Texarkana Chamber of Commerce Director, Bill Cork also commended Ratcliffe’s commitment to protecting the Depot:
“Legislation provoking another round of BRAC in the absence of a consensus strategy related to our national defense needs makes absolutely no sense. While we are aware that excess infrastructure may exist at military facilities across the US, there are plenty of existing authorities that can be used to address those issues,” said Cork.
“The Bowie County region has taken extraordinary actions and made appropriate and extensive local investments to improve the military value of Red River Army Depot. This important installation proved indispensable in the war on terror despite the Department’s assertion in 1995 and again in 2005 that the facility and capability resident here wasn’t needed. The Department’s track record of picking winners and losers during BRAC has been costly and often wrong. Until we can be convinced of its necessity, there will be opposition for another round of BRAC from this community,” Cork added.
The Government Accountability Office estimates that the last round of BRAC in 2005 cost the American taxpayers $35.1 billion – which is 67 percent more than the original cost estimate. In addition, the expected savings from the last round of BRAC have been reduced by 73 percent.