By Robert Pittenger
This week, I voted with President Trump to support our troops, help North Carolina families with disaster relief and keep America safe.
With my vote and full support, Congress passed the Bipartisan Budget Act, which fully funds our military and provides our service men and women with the resources they need to keep America safe and secure.
The importance and urgency of this legislation cannot be overstated.
Eight years of spending cuts and neglect from the Obama Administration has left our military depleted and our troops undertrained and underequipped.
Our Army is smaller than it has been since before World War II, Navy sailors are forced to work 100-hour work weeks and our Air Force is now at its smallest size in our nation’s history.
In 2017, 80 service members lost their lives in accidents and training incidents. That is nearly four times as many as we lost in combat. With better training and updated equipment, some of these deaths may have been preventable.
Our brave men and women in uniform are truly the best among us. We ask them to put their lives on the line every day to protect our freedoms. The least we can do is ensure our troops have the best training and most up-to-date equipment to they can do their job as safely and effectively as possible.
The crisis in our military is as severe as it is dangerous.
Our nation faces grave threats around the world – a nuclear North Korea, a belligerent Iran, an aggressive China, and radical Islamic terrorists determined to bring their jihad to our cities and our communities.
Now, more than ever, we must act to support and restore our military’s strength and superiority.
That is why I voted with President Trump to support our troops and fully fund America’s military at the level Secretary Mattis says is necessary to protect American families.
In addition to rebuilding our military and supporting our troops, this bill features multiple provisions that will help hardworking North Carolinians.
As a lifelong supporter and vocal advocate for the sanctity of life, I also supported this bill as it repeals Obamacare’s “Independent Payment Advisory Board.” This is often referred to as Obamacare’s “death panel” because it gives 15 unelected government bureaucrats the ability to cut senior citizens’ Medicare healthcare coverage. By repealing the IPAB we are securing senior citizens’ access to healthcare and protecting the sanctity of life. The National Right to Life fully supported this budget legislation.
Additionally, this bill secures over $125 million in desperately needed relief for the thousands of North Carolinians devastated by Hurricane Matthew. Nearly 98,000 homes and 19,500 businesses were damaged by the hurricane. While $1.28 billion in federal funding has already been provided for recovery efforts, it simply is not enough. Many of those impacted are still in dire need of relief. Thanks to this bill, folks in Robeson, Cumberland and Scotland will receive the long-term assistance they so desperately need.
Finally, this bill will provide $6 billion to combat the opioid epidemic, which has been wreaking havoc on our communities.
When it comes down to it, the Bipartisan Budget Act is a win for North Carolinians and a win for the country.
Standing with President Trump, I voted this week to support our troops, help North Carolina families, protect the right to life and keep America safe.
Congressman Robert Pittenger (NC-09) is chairman of the Congressional Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare and vice chairman of the Subcommittee on Terrorism and Illicit Finance. He serves on the House Financial Services Committee, with a special focus on supporting small businesses, community bankså and credit unions.