Mr. DELLUMS. Mr. Chairman, I offer an amendment.
The CHAIRMAN. The Clerk will designate the amendment.
The text of the amendment is as follows:
Amendment No. 7 offered by Mr. Dellums:
At the end of title I (page 23, before line 7), insert the following new sections:
SEC. 123. B-2. AIRCRAFT PROGRAM.
(a) Prohibition of Additional Aircraft.--None of the amount appropriated pursuant to the authorization of appropriations in section 103(1) may be obligated for advanced procurement of B-2 aircraft beyond the 21 deployable aircraft authorized by law before the date of the enactment of this Act.
(b) Production Line Curtailment.--None of the amount appropriated pursuant to the authorization of appropriations in section 103(1) may be obligated for reestablishment of the production line for B-2 aircraft. The Secretary of the Air Force may use up to $21,800,000 of funds available for the B-2 aircraft program for curtailment of the B-2 production line.
(c) Funding Reduction.--The amount provided in section 103(1) for procurement of aircraft for the Air Force is hereby reduced by $331,200,000.
SEC. 124. INCREASE IN AMOUNT FOR GUARD AND RESERVE EQUIPMENT.
The amount provided in section 105 for procurement of equipment for the reserve components is hereby increased by $331,200,000.
The CHAIRMAN. Pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from California [Mr. Dellums] and a Member opposed, the gentleman from South Carolina [Mr. Spence] each will control 45 minutes.
The Chair recognizes the gentleman from California [Mr. Dellums].
Mr. DELLUMS. Mr. Chairman, I yield 22 1/2 minutes of the 45 minutes allocated to this gentleman for the purposes of debate to the distinguished gentleman from Florida [Mr. Foley] and I ask unanimous consent that he be permitted to control that time.
The CHAIRMAN. Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from California?
There was no objection.
Mr. DELLUMS. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
Mr. Chairman, this is perhaps the most significant vote that Members will make on the Department of Defense authorization bill for this fiscal year. Contained in this budget is $331,200,000 to begin advance procurement for 9 additional B-2 bombers. That is what is in the bill. What this amendment does is to strike that $331,200,000 from the B-2 account and places it in another account that I will discuss a little later.
What is clearly before us, Mr. Chairman, is whether or not we ought to go forward with the B-2 bomber. The debate is not about having B-2 bombers. We already have 21 of them that we have paid for, that we have either developed, or are in the final stages of development. It is not about do we have B-2's. It is about spending $27 billion to restart production for an additional 9 B-2's for which significant authorities have not asked for, stated that they do not want, and stated that they do not need. A $27 billion program that nobody has asked for, no one wants, except the contractor and the subcontractors.
This is a weapons system that no one wants. Where do we get this $27 billion figure? From the Congressional Budget Office, the people with figures so accurate that a number of my colleagues in these Chambers were prepared to shut down the Government if the CBO was not part of providing the statistical basis, the budgetary basis for what we have done. That means that people have great faith in their figures. $27 billion, $13.6 billion that will be spent in the 5 years of the so-called budget agreement, $13.2 billion beyond the 5 years for maintenance and operation, to a tune of nearly $27 billion.
Mr. Chairman, there is a point that I will make throughout this debate that the world has now significantly changed. It is no longer the same. This is a zero sum game.
You cannot have a 5-year balanced budget, strap on your back a $27 billion program and try to force it into the budget unless you force something out. You do not have to be too smart to realize that. Just plain old mother whip helps you understand that.
Balanced budget. You did not budget for this program because somebody wants to push it in. You push in $27 billion, you push out something. I am going to keep repeating that. This is a new day, it is a different world, it is a zero sum game.
The budget resolution, Mr. Chairman, that Members went home and lauded as they voted for this 5-year budget agreement adds over and above the President's request $17.5 billion. The Quadrennial Defense Review sweeps up all of that $17.5 billion for their 5-year defense plan. Now here comes a program that will spend $13.6 billion on a new weapons system that nobody budgeted for.
What about unbudgeted and unforeseen circumstances, like pay raises for the military, not budgeted? Mr. Chairman, my colleagues may not know this, but 3 years ago when I was the chairman of this committee, my colleagues submitted letters requesting $10 billion for programs above and beyond the budget request. This year my colleagues sent letters to the distinguished chair and the ranking member totaling $20 billion, add-ons, above and beyond what the Pentagon requested, what the administration requested, what Members wanted. In the real world, those add-ons and those Members' requests are going to keep on coming. Emergency crises are going to keep coming. Desire for pay raises and other things are going to keep coming.
I would assert aggressively, Mr. Chairman, that the $17.5 billion is already overly subscribed. Colleagues already competed for this money two or three times. They can only spend a buck in one place, they cannot spend the same dollar in three different places. Now only a fool can accept that argument.
This is real, Mr. Chairman. As I said, the world is changed. This is different. We cannot cram $27 billion.
Now, Mr. Chairman, I want to come directly on this budget issue to a number of my colleagues here.
To those who have said in the past I am going to give my vote on the B-2 to a friend of mine, that charge is going to cost $27 billion. It cannot be given away any more because in the context of a balanced budget, we push something in, we push something out. We cannot just turn our vote over for $27 billion for a friend, my colleagues handicap their own constituents, and I am going to argue that point aggressively before I finish.
For those of my colleagues who said, well, I am doing a Member a favor; they came to me first, and I am just going to give them my vote. Twenty-seven billion dollars; we cannot just give away our vote. My colleagues are in a balanced budget environment; push something in, push something out.
For those of my colleagues who have interests in military affairs and who have interests in other weapons system and other programs, they cannot just give away their vote.
I served on the Committee on Armed Services. I have watched the horse trading and the dealing for years. When Members did not have any problem: `I'll buy your B-2, you buy my F-16, my F-22,' ad infinitum. That day is over, it is dead, it is gone. My colleagues are in a balanced budget environment. Colleagues push $27 billion in, colleagues push something out.
And then there are Members who want the B-2, the F-22, they want the joint strike fighter, they want every weapon system on the face of the Earth, but they do not want to make a decision as to which one they had rather have as opposed to something else. The balanced budget now forces them into this. This is now a tradeoff, my colleagues, no more skinning and grinning, no more smiling, my colleagues have got to make a serious decision.
For those Members in these Chambers who represent the poorest constituency in America, how do they then go home in the context of a balanced budget and say they took welfare reform, they reduced welfare, they reduced education, they reduced housing, they reduced jobs, when somebody can march into the well and say, `But you voted for a $27 billion budget program that ripped across a 5-year budget plan. How can you argue on both sides?'
For those who represent constituents who have thousands and thousands of young people at risk, who need the right to a good education, good training, good employment and living in a good environment, how do they then say in the context of a 5-year budget agreement that they embraced a $27 billion weapon system that is going to come out?
Mr. Chairman, my colleagues have two options. Adding B-2's will force tradeoff of higher priority programs in the Defense Department. I have already tried to make that argument. The Department of Defense makes this argument. But I also want to talk to those people who are really not interested that much in all these things. They say, `Ron, you take care of the military budget. I'm interested in domestic programs.' Remember this: We are in a 5-year budget agreement where there are so-called fire walls for the first 2 years. That means there is a wall between defense spending and nondefense discretionary spending. My colleagues cannot take money out of the military budget and put it in domestic programs or vice versa for 2 years.
Now this is a 5-year budget deal. My colleagues, I just said this is a $27 billion program. Wake up. Where do my colleagues think this $27 billion is going to come on the other side of those 2-year budget walls? Out of education, out of housing, out of the programs to serve our rural Americans, suburban Americans, and urban Americans.
My colleagues have got to be smart enough to understand this is a zero sum game. They may not like it because they think I am the skunk at the party raising these issues, but, my colleagues, I have got to put it in their face because that is the reality. We have got to wake up. There is no more dreaming any more. When my colleagues decided to go into a balanced budget environment, they put themselves there. Dignity and integrity and honesty require that they step up to that.
If my colleagues want this B-2, then it is so that they do not want other systems. If they want this B-2, absorb that we may not have other programs. For those of my colleagues who are concerned about the fragile nature of our ecological system and the environment, understand that in this bill we took $2.6 billion out of the Department of Energy's budget, a lot of it to clean up the environment where we have a responsibility to clean up some of the worst waste in America on these military reservations and bases, to buy more weapon systems.
This is a big one, my colleagues. It is coming out of our hide one place or the other.
So if my colleagues got these poor people, if they got these children at risk, if they have got people who are concerned about their health and their welfare, if they got people who are concerned about the environment, if they have got in their district other weapons systems, if they are committed to other policies, understand that my colleagues are jamming a $27 billion weapon system into a budget that cannot stand it.
Now, Mr. Chairman, let me go further. On the B-2 program itself there were five, not four, not three, not two, not one, five independent studies that all said we cannot make a case for more B-2 bombers. We had one study in 1995, the heavy bomber force study by the Institute for Defense Analysis. It said, quickly, did not make the case for more B-2's, additional quantities of precision-guided standoff munitions are more cost effective than additional B-2's, planned upgrades to the B-1 are more cost effective than additional B-2's, planned bomber force with precision-guided standoff munitions can meet the requirements of the two major regional contingencies.
Second study, 1995, Commission on Roads and Missions, did not make a case for more B-2's. Additional B-2's are less cost effective than additional precision-guided munitions, on and on.
Third study, heavy bomber industrial capability study, because many Members said, gee, we have got to build B-2's because we are going to lose the industrial base. Do my colleagues know what the study pointed out? There is no such thing as a bomber industrial base. If someone can build a plane, they can build a bomber. The people that built the B-2 did not build the B-1. The people that built the B-1 did not build the B-2. There is no such thing as a bomber base.
Finally, from 1962 to 1986, from 1962 to 1982 we never built a bomber, 20 years. But do my colleagues know what? When we needed to build one, we built one. A bomber is just a plane, bigger, longer, or whatever. But it is just a plane. So that argument about bomber base does not make sense.
Now the question of the technology, we need stealth. Well, that stealth technology that we learned out of the B-2 is going into the F-22, the joint strike fighter, and it is also in our technology base.
Third study is the quadrennial defense review. They came up with the same notion. Forces with more B-2's cost more than currently planned forces, et cetera, et cetera, and then the deep strike weapons mix study also this year concluded, 1997, same thing. Forces with more B-2's were less capable in strike warfare than those traded off, et cetera. Forces traded off perform roles the B-2 cannot.
My colleagues will argue that, well, we can trade off some of these other weapons systems for B-2's because we urgently need them. Mr. Chairman, we are not going to have these nine B-2's for 10 years. So if it is all that important for us to have them, then what about these 10 years, what do we do? Do we go in a closet because we are fighting to death that we do not have these nine additional B-2's? We got 21. We have a silver bullet.
And remember, when we flew in the Persian Gulf, Mr. Chairman, we fought what President Bush said was the fourth largest army in the world. We never flew one B-2, we never flew one B-1, and within 24 hours we had air superiority; within 72 hours, diminish.
My colleagues may not know this; I think you do, Mr. Chairman, because I know of your position: We have greater accuracy in our standoff capability, more of that accuracy and more of it deployed than when we were in the Persian Gulf. Five studies.
Now one thing: When I was chairman of the committee 3 years ago, I walked in a room with Sam Nunn. He is the most articulate supporter of the B-2. They thought I was the most articulate opponent. They said if Sam Nunn and Ron Dellums can walk in a room and work something out, everybody can live with it on a bipartisan, bicameral basis. We walked in, I shook hands with Sam and said, `Let's do it fair, let's have an honest study, Mr. Chairman, an independent study. If you win, you win.'
Guess what? A lot of my colleagues, including the gentleman from Ohio, said `Ron, you just bought into a sucker bet. That study is going to come out, it is going to blow you away.'
Do my colleagues know what happened? The study came out and supported me, and that ended it for the most part, and Sam Nunn supported it at that point. He said, well, if the administration does not want it, the study does not support it, he started to walk away.
I put all my chips on the table with honesty and integrity, Mr. Chairman, and I said let the study determine it. If my arguments do not make sense, if no one else carries my argument, then maybe I am talking to myself.
But I was not. Five additional, five independent, studies pointed this out.
Now I could talk about the B-1. I hope someone else does. The B-1 carries more of these weapons, flies the same distance, but let us come down to the last point: Jobs.
Some people have argued that this is going to keep more people employed in these communities that are presently building B-2. Not true, Mr. Chairman. This is a restart, not industrial-based preservation. Air Force sources have estimated that the production capability for the B-2 right now as we speak is no more than 30 percent, 30 percent. Only 6 percent of the personnel required to produce nine B-2's are currently on the program. Not according to Ron Dellums, not according to Mr. Foley, or Mr. Kasich or the Pentagon. Do my colleagues know whose data? The contractor's data.
Mr. Chairman, I am sorry, 16 percent.
Many vendors and suppliers began exiting the program early in 1992. When we make a contribution and have done it, we exit. People have been walking away from this program since 1992.
Summarize, Mr. Chairman. This is not an argument about B-2. We have 21 of them. We have got 95 brandnew shiny B-1's converted with the capability to destroy life beyond comprehension.
Mr. Chairman, this is a budget buster. Mr. Chairman, we cannot sell, we cannot rope-a-dope people, we cannot push $27 billion into a weapons system, into a budget and assume that it is not going to come out hurting somewhere, and if the people on the committee work it out and manage to buy each others B-2's and F-22's and joint strike fighters, I say to the gentleman from New York, `Who do you think they are coming after after the end of 2 years?' He knows. Jump on the other side of those fire walls and come after domestic programs, hurt us, hit us where we hurt across the board, and that is what this whole thing is about.
We cannot push this forward. No one wants this program except a few Members pushing it, the contractor and the subcontractor. Two Presidents did not want it, two Secretaries of Defense did not want it, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs did not want it, the CINC's do not want it. Who wants it? Why would we push a $27 billion program? If our warriors do not want it and we are not out there fighting wars, what makes us think we want to supplant them? We all know what this is about.
But the day is different now. This is a zero sum game. Make a deal, pay for it. Make a deal, the community pays for it. Make a deal, the constituency pays for it.
Mr. Chairman, I urge my colleagues to support this amendment. It is the right thing to do, it is the intelligent thing to do. It is assuming our fiduciary responsibilities. It is the economical thing to do.
Mr. Chairman, with those arguments I reserve the balance of my time.
Mr. SPENCE. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I might consume.
(Mr. SPENCE asked and was given permission to revise and extend his remarks.)
Mr. SPENCE. Mr. Chairman, as a famous commentator recently said, `Now it is time for the other side of the story.'
Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to the amendment to strike the B-2 funding from the bill. I oppose efforts to terminate the B-2 program as I did 2 years ago when the House twice rejected similar amendments. Although buying an additional nine B-2 bombers will not come inexpensively, the case for another squadron of these stealthy bombers that the Nation will rely on for the next 40 years is compelling.
This debate reminds me, I just listened to the gentleman refer to the fact that the President, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, the Secretary of Defense, all these people in the Pentagon do not want the B-2 bomber. Reminds me of another President, Jimmy Carter. We were debating this B-1 bomber the gentleman referred to at that time. And the same situation prevailed. The President, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, the Secretary of Defense all of them were opposed to the B-1 bomber, and the Congress voted for it.
It was overturned by the President. He vetoed the bill and we did not get it. Then, later on, President Reagan was elected, and the same question came back up, and President Reagan held over the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs at that time, General David Jones, who sat down before the committee and said we do not want this B-1 bomber. But guess what? Under President Reagan, that same man who said we did not want it then said he wanted it, because President Reagan wanted it.
I have to make the point that these people in the administration have to carry water for the administration. They cannot very well take the opposing view from the President on matters of this kind.
As a supporter of the B-2, I would like to quote from a letter that retired Senator Sam Nunn wrote to the Committee on National Security earlier this year. Senator Nunn's letter stated, and I quote, `I continue to believe that the 21 B-2 bombers will not constitute an adequate force level to deal with many likely future contingencies and crises, and that no other military systems in existence or on the drawing boards can adequately substitute for the capabilities that the B-2 bomber offers.'
While many share this view, unfortunately, as I said earlier, most current and former Clinton administration Secretaries of Defense do not. Consequently, the fate of the B-2 bomber, like the fate of the nuclear submarine, the conventional cruise missile, the F-117, and the V-22 before it, rests with Congress, for only Congress can intervene in these matters and has in the past.
It intervened, for instance, with Admiral Rickover, the father of the nuclear Navy, able to build the nuclear submarine because Congress dictated it; were options to build the conventional cruise missiles not negotiated away, thus protecting Tomahawk cruise missiles, whose performance in Desert Storm and in Bosnia were exceptional; a second squadron of F-117 Stealth fighters procured. The cancellation of the V-22 tiltrotor, the Marine Corps' future air transport, all of these things overturned because of Congress when the administrations were opposed to it.
Mr. Chairman, I only hope that the wisdom of Congress today and the wisdom Congress exhibited in reaching these historic decisions on these weapon systems will prevail here today on the B-2.
We will hear a lot of stories in this debate about the expense of buying more B-2's. We will hear that procuring nine more aircraft will cost $10 billion or $15 billion and that operating them for the next 20 years will cost another $10 billion to $15 billion. Even if these figures are correct, they need to be put in proper context.
Consider the capability the B-2 will provide this Nation well into the next century, and then consider the cost in the context of the funding that our country will spend on just three tactical aircraft programs: The F-22, the F/A-18E/F, and the Joint Strike Fighter. These three programs are slated to cost $350 billion, a figure which is not even adjusted for inflation, just to procure in the decades ahead. And they will probably cost a like amount to operate over their 20 or so year life spans. In this context, $20 billion to $25 billion to buy and operate another squadron of B-2's over the next 20 years seems small.
So while cost should be a critical variable in any debate over a major weapons system, I urge my colleagues to consider first the capability. If the B-2 provides a capability that the Nation needs, and I believe that it will for decades to come, we ought to be able to find the money in an annual defense budget of $250 billion to do it. If we do not believe that the Nation will want a more robust B-2 capability than the currently planned 21 aircraft in the decades ahead, then my colleagues should vote for this amendment.
I believe that another squadron of B-2's represents a prudent investment in our future, and therefore, I urge all of my colleagues to vote no on the amendment.
Mr. Chairman, I ask unanimous consent that the gentleman from California [Mr. Hunter], the chairman of our Subcommittee on Procurement, control the remainder of the time in opposition to this amendment.
The CHAIRMAN. Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from South Carolina?
There was no objection.
Mr. FOLEY. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
Mr. Chairman, this issue is not about simply the defense of our country. This is not about short-changing the men and women who serve our military. This is not about military preparedness. This is about a discussion that needs to go forward on a weapons program, the B-2 bomber, that is clearly a very, very expensive budgetary item.
There will be a lot of rhetoric about the pros and cons of the B-2 bomber, and there is divided opinion. We read the editorial papers, we listen to defense experts, we listen to our colleagues, and one can come to the conclusion that the B-2 is the best thing we have ever invented, or that it is an extreme waste of money.
We have to start talking about the budget of this Nation like we talk to our families at home, about making priorities fit within the confines of money available.
Now, clearly, if we have an unlimited Treasury, which we have proven we do not, in fact, my side of the aisle has been one of the strongest proponents of balancing the Federal budget and saying no to other things that we cannot afford. Well, I think clearly, if we want to put something right on the table as a meaningful attempt to save the taxpayers' dollars, the B-2 comes to the top of the list.
According to the Pentagon, again, I have to suggest that many in this body suggest let the experts decide, let sound science rule the day, and let those charged with determining the future success of our military operations be brought into the discussion and make recommendations. The current fleet of 21 B-2 bombers, according to the Pentagon, is sufficient to meet the two-war scenario, the ability to fight and win two wars at the same time.
The B-1 bomber was mentioned earlier, which offers a greater payload and essentially the same range and weapons suite as the B-2. It is a logical complement to the 21 B-2 bombers authorized under current law. Again, we have 21 B-2 bombers. It is not as if we are on the floor today to determine should we get a B-2 bomber. We have 21 B-2 bombers that we paid for.
Now, we received a letter. The gentleman from Ohio [Mr. Kasich] asked the Congressional Budget Office that was referred to by my colleague:
At your request, the Congressional Budget Office has estimated the cost to acquire and operate nine additional B-2 bombers. CBO estimates that adding nine bombers to the currently-planned fleet and operating each of them for 20 years would cost about $27 billion.
Some may assume that today's budget item of $331 million is what we are talking about. We are not talking about $331 million; we are talking about a total outlay over 20 years of $27 billion.
Most importantly, we have to discuss the fact that there are 95 B-1's in the fleet already bought and paid for by the U.S. taxpayer. The massive deep-attack weapons mix study conducted by the Pentagon concluded that it would not be cost effective, not be cost effective, to buy more B-2 bombers.
The Dellums-Kasich-Foley amendment is important because it eliminates the $331.2 million in B-2 funding that would be allocated this year, but again, that figure is a mere fraction of the real cost. No money is programmed in any balanced budget plan to pay for the outyear cost, as was mentioned by the gentleman from California [Mr. Dellums] that would be forced by authorization of nine additional B-2's. Small down payment today, folks, to keep the line operating; the big ticket comes in the outyears. Can we face the taxpayers to tell them the bill is in the mail and it is on its way?
If Congress allows this fiscally imprudent spending to occur, we will be forced to confront untold trade-offs in the future. Balancing the budget is a very difficult task. We have seen it on the floor, we have read about it in the newspapers, we have heard from our constituents, so yes, we do have to make some spending decisions now, not later.
Let me tell my colleagues what we could buy for one B-2 bomber. One B-2 bomber costs about $1.5 billion. Now, the proponents of the B-2 say that is because we are not ordering enough of them and we can get the cost down on a relative per-unit cost if we can just buy a lot more of them. The argument is not about buying efficiency in weapons system, it is about do we even need them to begin with.
But let us go over what a B-2 bomber will provide the United States of America taxpayers as a trade-off for something else. Fifty-six thousand, six hundred and four elementary school teachers at $26,000 a year, that is what one B-2 bomber buys; 86,108 deputy sheriffs to patrol our streets at $17,420 per year; 57,692 clergymen to go out and spread the message of the Bible in our communities at $26,000 per year; 46,000 firemen to protect our buildings and our public safety. Here is one some may not agree with, but 47,928 newspaper reporters. We may not agree that we need that many, but they are there at $31,297 per year.
Thirty-six thousand, five hundred eighty six new prison beds to lock up our most violent offenders in prisons with the price of 1 B-2 bomber; not the fleet, one. Take those numbers forward and see what they will do for us. Buy 188,372 brand-new GEO economy cars. Buy groceries for 1 full year for 360,577 families. For one B-2 bomber, I am going to tell 360,577 families, no groceries for a year. Now, we can go to public education, 224,000 students for 1 full academic year at a public 4-year college.
Why do I mention these figures? Because it is about choices. It is about a parent sitting down with their children and saying yes, I want to take you to Disney World this summer, and yes, we are going to try hard, but, kids, if we do that, we are going to sacrifice a little bit this year. Maybe not go to the movies during the weekend, maybe not order the pizza from the delivery man, maybe sacrifice a few items in order to do what we would like to do as a family, go to Disney World.
Now, maybe this is a simple analogy, but I got elected to Congress from a small town in Florida. I used to drive a tow truck, I worked at a gas station pumping gas, I opened my own restaurant at the age of 20. I found that every cent mattered in my life, because for me to open up the following Monday my restaurant caused me to be economical in my pursuit of excellence in that restaurant, and I could not waste money.
I got to Washington, DC, and people talk about billions as if we are talking about somebody's walking around money. It is only $27 billion, or maybe less, maybe $20 billion. CBO says 27 billion, the proponents of the program may say it is only a couple billion dollars. Members decide. Members decide. Because April 15 every year when I ask people to send their money to the IRS to run this Government, part of those dollars they are sending, Mr. Chairman, is for things like the B-2 bomber.
Now, we can spend billions of dollars to build up our society in public education, in housing, in infrastructure. Imagine that, building and creating our roads in America, strengthening our bridges, fixing the potholes in Washington, DC. What a novel thought, to think the American taxpayers will actually see some of their dollars at work domestically rather than flying planes we cannot see over in the Middle East somewhere.
Let us talk about our personnel. I was on the floor proudly supporting the flag burning amendment, because our veterans, our military personnel, went to war and died for the symbol of our democracy, the flag. I went home and they said, that is just rhetoric. The Constitution gives us the right of free speech, so putting a constitutional amendment about flag burning is just a gesture. Men and women died for that flag, and the debate today is about do we treat them as human beings.
Do we give them the housing they so richly deserve for protecting our Nation? Do we get our own personnel off of food stamps so they can proudly raise their own children? Do we give them the flight training and equipment up to standards that they desperately need? Or do we go off on a tangent and buy more weapons that the President and others have clearly said we do not need?
The Boston Globe, Pentagon's high tech delusions. The Pentagon insists on purchasing weapons systems that have little utility in a real crisis because they either are irrelevant to the threat or technologically wholly disproportionate to the threat or so costly that commanders are inhibited from using them. The B-2 stealth bomber is the obvious and controversial case in point.
Kansas City Star, hardware versus troops. Pentagon continues against all logic to insist no tough choices be made between the two.
Kansas City Star, again, with the cold war over, the need does not exist for all three fighters.
I can read from almost every editorial regarding this expenditure. Defense Secretary William Cohen, a Republican, is constantly being urged to kill sacred cows and must do so. Our own recommendation for cuts, including dropping the joint strike fighter and the B-2 bomber and cutting back the Marine Corps to free money for urgent needs particularly airlift and sea transportation.
Mr. Chairman, if we look at the facts, look at the groups supporting the Dellums-Kasich amendment, we will clearly come to the conclusion that while the B-2 is a very valuable weapons system, the fact remains we have 21. The fact remains we are equipped. The fact remains we have not shirked our duty to protect our Nation. The fact remains we are advancing technologically to develop weapons systems that are more adequate for today's needs. We are looking at conflicts that are arising around the globe.
I just got back from Asia with the Speaker of the House. We talked to people in China about their defense capabilities. The average pilot in China trains 2 hours a month. Their equipment is antiquated. Their resources are limited. So who is the threat? I am not suggesting China is not a threat. Understand, there are components within China that could operate to our detriment. Russia is broke. Boris Yeltsin was at the summit. He is broke. They are broke. They do not have the money to put toward weapons systems. They are no longer a threat.
There are threats, I recognize that. I am not so naive to suggest that this is a perfect world. Iran, Iraq, other nations pose threats to us. But is the B-2 going to be called into service for those nations that may be hostile to us or will it be an F-22, which I do support? Will it be a more versatile, more mobile force?
Let me read a letter that went to the gentleman from South Carolina [Mr. Spence] from the Secretary of Defense on June 18, 1997. Let me just underscore one statement: The loss in combat capabilities from retiring current weapons systems to pay for additional B-2's, the loss due to forgoing investment in other needed capabilities and the additional cost of the B-2 far outweigh the benefits from adding more B-2 aircraft to the fleet.
I will read that once more. Bill Cohen, appointed by President Clinton, Republican Senator from Maine, a thought conscious, strong individual who has supported our military. The loss in combat capabilities, our young men and women on the front line, from retiring current weapons systems to pay for additional B-2's, the loss due to forgoing investment in other needed capabilities and the additional cost of the B-2 far outweigh the benefits from adding more B-2 aircraft to the fleet.
The only former Defense Secretary that I think they could find to sign the letter of support was Cap Weinberger under the Reagan administration. I may stand corrected and I would look forward to it if I am.
Mr. Chairman, the debate is significant. The debate is about providing moneys, supplies, necessary weapons to our troops to defend America's interests both here and abroad. We are going down a path of spending billions of dollars on a weapons system that we clearly do not need by most all recognizable experts.
I hope my colleagues will join on the side of the righteous, if you will, and support the Dellums-Kasich-Foley amendment. It is a financially significant opportunity to show both our support for the defense of this Nation and for the conservative principle of saving money in a time when our budget is extremely stressed.
Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.
Mr. HUNTER. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
Mr. Chairman, let us start with stealth because, that is an important part of the B-2 story. In Vietnam, we lost 2,300 aircraft. In fact, in the last phases of the war, when we threw B-52's against surface-to-air missile systems from Russia, then the Soviet Union, we lost 10 percent of our B-52 force that was used in that theater in 11 days. And America turned to her scientists and said, we may be on the verge of having our Air Force become obsolete if you do not figure out a way to beat those Soviet-made radar systems and surface-to-air missile systems.
And our scientists, the great scientists that we have in this country, responded. They came up with something developed by Democrat and Republican administrations, announced first by President Jimmy Carter, with what was known as stealth. Stealth is the ability to avoid enemy radar. That means very simply that a guy like the gentleman from Texas, Mr. Sam Johnson, who is sitting right here, who was a POW for a number of years in Hanoi, could fly an aircraft through a SAM missile battery without it acquiring him, without it seeing him and shooting him down. It gave survivability to American pilots. So we started developing stealth. And that is what the B-2 is.
My colleagues have talked about these wonderful ways to give quality of life to the people who serve in the Armed Forces. The way to give quality of life to the people who serve in the Armed Forces is to bring them back. And the way you bring them back is by letting them fly the best equipment.
Let me just put this argument in perspective in terms of cost. President Clinton has a program to buy short range aircraft over the next 20 years for $350 billion. Many Members here who are arguing on the other side have signed on at least initially to that program. We need those aircraft. That is short range theater aircraft.
President Clinton says we need $35 billion for short range aircraft and for long range aircraft, for bomber aircraft that can go from the United States to stop an armored invasion in another country thousands of miles away. He put down zero. Not a dime for long range aircraft. That is why the study that I think is the best study, the independent study, not a budget-driven study but the independent study by General Scowcroft recommends that we continue to build
the B-2 line.
So here is what we are recommending today, what is in our budget, one thirty-fifth of the amount of money that is spent on short range aircraft of that $350 billion, that is about $12 billion for the construction, according to CBO, of B-2 bombers, one thirty-fifth of what we are spending for short range aircraft, let us spend it for long range aircraft so you have the ability to move from the United States to stop an armor attack halfway around the world.
I am a Navy guy. I come from a Navy town, San Diego. I am an advocate of carrier air power. However, it takes a long time to steam a carrier someplace. You cannot count on an enemy like Saddam Hussein being right out of central casting and waiting for you to build up in theater with these 200- and 300 mile airfields that are just a couple hundred miles away from your targets. You have to stop armor early.
Does the military want it? My colleagues, the gentleman from California [Mr. Dellums] and the gentleman from Florida [Mr. Foley], have said the military does not want that. Here is what President Clinton's chief of staff, General Fogleman says, at a hearing just a few weeks ago: More B-2's would be extremely valuable in the halt phase, that is when you stop his armor attack, and in fact in all phases, as we would go.
My question back, and would they save lives? General Fogleman, yes.
So to my friend the gentleman from Florida [Mr. Foley], if we want to give the best quality of life to a person in uniform, that is, to save his life, then you want to have B-2's.
Let us go back to the Clinton administration's proposal if this Congress does not act, does not keep our package intact. President Clinton had a problem. The problem is, how are we going to maintain our long range bomber force if we are spending $350 billion for short range aircraft and not a dime over the next 20, 30 years for long range aircraft. The answer was, we are going to fly B-52's. Those are the planes that were shot down easily by SAM batteries in 1968. We are going to fly them for 80 years. So the pilot that the gentleman from Florida [Mr. Foley] cares so much about is going to be flying an airplane that is older than his great grandfather.
We have talked about cost a little bit. Let us talk about bases. We had 81 bases for our short range aircraft in 1961. As the years went by, we lost those bases, sometimes because of political action, sometimes because we just could not afford to operate them.
We have gone from 81 major overseas U.S. air bases to 14. Let me tell you what is going to happen on the Korean peninsula. We all know this. It is in all the open reports. The North Koreans have the capability to put nerve gas on every single short range airfield on the Korean peninsula. Limited detoxification capability. The first crew that dies because of nerve gas on the runway at one of those tactical air bases is going to eliminate us as a tactical presence on the Korean peninsula.
Last week the Japanese started to hedge on our ability to base our fighter aircraft in Japan in a second Korean war. We Americans have to be able to rely on our technology to stop an enemy, to deter an enemy with a flight that comes out of the United States and goes to that particular area, wherever it is around the world.
So the Air Force does not want it. That is not what the Air Force says. General Fogleman says, more B-2's would be extremely valuable in the halt phase and in fact in all phases as we would go.
Last part of the cost argument, every Member of this House has voted just a few days ago on the reform package that reforms the Pentagon, that cuts the bureaucracy. CBO's estimate of that reform package is that we save in 5 years $15 billion. That means in 5 years we have saved $3 billion more than CBO says we would need to build this entire tranche of nine B-2's.
So, no, we are not going to take it out of Geo sales in America. We are not going to take it out of pay. We can afford to get by spending one thirty-fifth of what we are spending on short range aircraft by spending that $12 billion on long range aircraft and taking that from the reform package.
Mr. Chairman, let me just say that this will be the first time, if we do not keep the B-2 in the budget, this is going to be the first time that this Nation has had the technology to allow our pilots to survive in an adverse environment and we have not given it to them. Let us give it to them. Let us give them the very best.
Mr. DICKS. Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman yield?
Mr. HUNTER. I yield to the gentleman from Washington.
Mr. DICKS. Mr. Chairman, I want to commend the gentleman from California. I think it was a very thoughtful statement. I think all the statements this evening have been very well thought out.
I happen to agree with his statement. Let me also make another point. In the gulf war, for the first time we used the F-117. The Air Force wanted 27. Congress said no. We think you should buy more. You need 54. We are going to make you buy two squadrons. The Chairman tonight was one of the leading figures in that decision, and we went out and we bought 54.
In the first 14 days of the gulf war, they represented 2 percent of the assets, but because they were stealthy, because, as the gentleman pointed out, they could go into the target and come back out without that large package of aircraft, they destroyed 40 percent of the targets and all the most difficult ones. It proved that stealth works.
And what the B-2 gives us is a plane that goes five times as far, carries eight times as many weapons, and weapons, by the way, that are $13,000 apiece. JDAM's are $13,000. Sixteen of them are $208,000. That is one-sixth the cost of a cruise missile. What the gentleman from California suggests is that we rely on the old bombers that are not stealthy. That means we have to use these very expensive weapons.
But what would it allow us to do? Saddam stopped himself. He gave us the time to build up our forces and then we destroyed him with air power.
They came out and surrendered to a Marine Corps RPV. What the B-2 does is allow us to hit those same tanks, that same army that Saddam had from 41,000 feet, day and night, no matter what circumstances, no matter what the weather is. This is a revolutionary military capability. We can destroy a country, and we can destroy the army that it sends in the field by air power. We have never been able to do this before. What that does, to make this point, what that does is to allow us to save American lives.
To my friends on the Democratic side, what I believe this gives us is the potential of having a conventional deterrent. Think if we had had the B-2, which we did not have in the gulf war, and the President could have deployed it to the Gulf and said, Saddam, if you come south, I will destroy your division before you get into Kuwait; and we now have the military capability with centrifuged weapons to do just that. We could have not had to fight the war. We would not have had to send 500,000 kids to the Gulf. We could have saved $10 billion it cost us to move them out there and $60 billion to fight the war.
The B-2 gives us the potential, a revolutionary conventional potential, to have a deterrent; and that is a capability worth having. Yes, it is expensive. But it is not as expensive as losing American lives. I would guarantee my colleagues today that at some future date, if the proponents win this amendment tonight, there will be a circumstance in which we will not have the capability that we needed, and that will mean that we will lose more lives than had to be lost and that would be a tragedy.
The gentleman from California [Mr. Hunter] is right; let us send them in our best. Stealth means survival. Stealth means survival.
And I will just tell my colleagues this. I have studied this issue. I was there when Harold Brown, a Democrat, came up. By the way, there is a letter here signed by Mel Laird, Jim Schlesinger, Donald Rumsfeld, Harold Brown, Cap Weinberger, Frank Carlucci and Dick Cheney saying, keep the B-2 program going. That is seven Secretaries of Defense, not one.
This is an important issue that demands the attention of this House.
Mr. HUNTER. Mr. Chairman, if the gentleman will yield, along with seven Secretaries of Defense, Gen. Chuck Horner, who ran the air war, if we are going to listen to the war fighters, to the warriors, who now is free to speak his mind because he does not have to do what the President tells him to do, has said very strongly that the B-2 should be supported. That is the guy who ran the air war in Iraq.
Mr. DICKS. Mr. Chairman, if the gentleman would yield, and 50 former generals of the Strategic Air Command also wrote the President saying, keep this capability alive, keep this line open. And they talk about building stealth bombers like it is just a piece of cake. I want my colleagues to know something. That is not true. I went to my friends at Boeing and they said it is very difficult, putting stealth into an aircraft is enormously difficult.
When we shut this down, we would have shut down the ability to build these kind of bombers, which is worth saving. This is something we need. What if a crisis occurs over the next 10 years? Then we have to come back to this. It will cost us $40 billion to pay for the R&D to do a B-3. So get the right number while the production line is open and it will save us money in terms of avoiding taxpayer cost.
So we save money that way, we save American lives, and we do the right thing. This is the most important conventional weapon that has ever been developed by any country anywhere, and it gives America an enormous advantage.
What we are going to do is not get the right number. The studies that were done by Rand, the studies that were done by Gen. Jasper Welch, say that the right number is significantly more than 21. We are here saying let us do at least three squadrons, three squadrons so that we could have 20 for the first major regional contingency and 10 for the second.
This a very reasonable proposal. And the gentleman mentions the numbers. The contractor says we can do it for about $9 billion. The Defense Department I think says $12 billion. And I think over a period of years, that is affordable. Any plane we buy has to have life cycle cost. And we may take out some of the older planes to offset and make room for it.
Mr. HUNTER. Mr. Chairman, if the gentleman would yield, even if we take the highest number, even if we take the CBO number, we are asking in the committee's package to spend 1/35 , that is 3 percent, for long-range aircraft, that is our B-2, of what we are spending for short-range aircraft. At a time when our overseas bases have shrunk from 81 overseas bases to 14, that makes sense.
Mr. DICKS. Mr. Chairman, the gentleman from California mentioned something else called lockout. What if the enemy uses chemical and biological weapons on those tactical airfields so we cannot get the airlift in to set up the TAC air? Then we bought the wrong weapon system. We need something that can come from outside the theatre, assuredly, to be able to protect and stop the enemy before he gets there.
I think the possibility of lockout is something that we need to study, that the National Defense Policy Panel needs to study, because that is a very real potential. By the way, in the deep attacks weapons mix study, in every scenario in which there was lockout or very little warning, the B-2 was better than any other conventional weapon. And we lost some of the wars because we did not have enough B-2's.
So let us, at least, buy the nine additional we are talking about here. It will save lives and save money. I support the chairman in this. We need to keep this money in the budget. We need to keep this option alive.
Mr. Chairman, I include the following for the Record:
Mr. HUNTER. Mr. Chairman, how much time do we have remaining?
The CHAIRMAN. The gentleman from California [Mr. Dellums] has 4 1/2 minutes remaining, the gentleman from Florida [Mr. Foley] has 7 1/2 minutes remaining, and the gentleman from California [Mr. Hunter] has 23 1/2 minutes remaining.
Mr. DELLUMS. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself 30 seconds to make a response to the gentleman from Washington [Mr. Dicks], who just spoke.
Mr. Chairman, when the gentleman talked about conventional deterrents, it is not in the platform, it is in the weapons. And the weapons are standoff smart bombs and precision-guided missiles. Second, remember, we do not have zero, we have 21 of these planes. I think it is a flight into fantasy, it is a bit of hyperbole to think if we jump from 21 to 30, the world will tremble. If that is the case and we cannot see the Stealth bomber, tell the world we have a thousand of them. They cannot see it. How would they know? That would really be a deterrent and we would save a whole lot of money.
Mr. HUNTER. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself 30 seconds to respond to the comments of the gentleman from California [Mr. Dellums].
The standoff weapons, Mr. Chairman, are extremely expensive. They are over $1 million apiece. That is our air launch cruise missiles. In fact, closer to a million and a half apiece. That is compared to $23,000 for the short-range weapons once your bomber has penetrated.
Mr. Chairman, we are sending out our Navy ships that have missile tubes with no missiles in them because the Navy and the other services have not bought enough missiles. It is difficult to get these very expensive standoff weapons that the gentleman says we are going to be buying. The smart buy is the B-2 bomber.
Mr. Chairman, I yield such time as he may consume to the gentleman from Missouri [Mr. Skelton], the ranking member of the subcommittee.
Mr. SKELTON. Mr. Chairman, I was sorry to hear a few moments ago the gentleman from Florida [Mr. Foley] say this is not about the defense of our country. It is about the defense of the young men and young women in uniform, those who are on the firing line, those who are nearing battle, those who may be called upon unless we have a weapons system that slows down or stops the enemy. The question is asked by my friend from California, who wants it? The young men and young women on the ground want it. Talk to the young soldiers who saw the bombardment and what the F-117's did to help them win in the Persian Gulf war.
Mr. Chairman, this is an important decision. It is not something we should take lightly. We should also be very careful in what we do this evening and not do something against the interest of America. Often, historically, this Congress has done that. We should not step into that hole once begin.
It is rather interesting that the replay of something back in 1925, a courageous Brigadier General by the name of Billy Mitchell spoke openly and forcefully for a bomber force. And here we are again, in 1997, saying the same thing, only with a more sophisticated bomber force that has stealth, that has long range, that can save American lives.
It is interesting that the second part of this amendment has not been alluded to, the $331 million that goes elsewhere. I say to my colleagues that the Senate in conference I think will invade this budget for $331 million for their programs because not one helicopter, not one truck, not one artillery piece is singled out for these dollars.
This Stealth B-2 bomber has a mission, it has an important mission to fulfill the strategy set forth in the recent quadrennial defense review of shaping, responding and preparing. Insofar as shaping the battlefield, the F-117, the Stealth, did work. It had short range. We had several air bases nearby. And as time goes by, as already has been mentioned, those will be fewer and fewer. This allows us to respond within hours rather than the days and the weeks it takes to get fighter bombers, to get aircraft carriers into position. We cannot count on local host airfields.
Mr. Chairman, long-range air power will be more important than ever in the decades ahead. Consequently, we do not believe that a mere force of 21 B-2's will satisfy foreseeable U.S. military requirements. The changing shape, the security environment makes long-range stealthy precision strike power ideally suited to the protection of American security interest in the decades ahead and that the Nation's long-range air power capabilities will be more important in the future than they have been in the past.
The B-2's ability to strike independently within hours anywhere in the globe from bases in the United States leaves it uniquely well-suited among all U.S. force elements for dealing with unexpected challenges. And we have had those in our history: Pearl Harbor, Kuwait. They are there.
The only realistic option for maintaining the viability of the long-range stealthy precision strike force over the long-term is to continue production of the B-2. The B-2 is there for a critical national asset which is uniquely capable of performing these vital missions. That is reality. That is reality, Mr. Chairman. Being able to strike the enemy promptly and accurately from a distance is the best choice in many scenarios, particularly since it is more effective and less costly than other options when all costs are considered.
Mr. Chairman, I urge a no vote on this amendment.
Mr. HUNTER. Mr. Chairman, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from California [Mr. Cunningham], Navy top gun, my seat mate from San Diego.
Mr. CUNNINGHAM. Mr. Chairman, Shoeless John Kasich, tell me it is not so. Tell me an individual who is a caring individual would send our men and women off to combat. In Vietnam, we lost 10 percent of our bomber force in 11 days, B-52s. And that is what we are asking our kids to go forward in. Not with standoff weapons, like the gentleman says, but our kids are going to die.
Shoeless John Kasich, put yourself in an airplane that is on fire, coming down, not knowing if you are going to die or you are going to be a prisoner of war. I cannot tell my colleague, I have been through that. And there is no Benson and Hedges in white scarf. When they told my mom I was shot down, they had to take her to the hospital; she had a nervous breakdown.
That is what we are talking about in these families. And why, why the B-52 in the first place? You take an F-22 which the Air Force is going to escort a bomber in, the SU-27, the SU-35, and the SU-37, which Russia is shipping all over the country today, with its big radar, can knock down our airplanes. That puts us inside the envelope when they shoot their AA-12, which outranks and outflies our RAM. Our kids are going to make it because the F-22 and the B-2 get in undetected before the MIG's, and they are going to die instead of ours.
But put them there with a B-52 and that thing is going to illuminate the whole sky. Everybody is going to know where your force is and they are going to attack it, and our kids are going to die.
Shoeless John Kasich, tell me it ain't so. Tell me that you would not put our kids in harm's way and put them out there where they are not going to come back.
The gentleman from Florida says he supports the flag. I appreciate that. But we damn near died for the flag, and I do not want our kids to die coming back in B-52's and antiquated B-51's, or B-1's. Give us a chance, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. FOLEY. Mr. Chairman, I yield 7 1/2 minutes to the gentleman from Ohio [Mr. Kasich], the chairman of the Committee on the Budget.
Mr. KASICH. Mr. Chairman, let me just suggest to all the people that talk about the fact that people's lives are being put at risk, I do not know whether my colleagues know it or not, but the military does not want this plane. They do not want it. If they wanted it, they would ask for it and they would make space for it. Why? Because they think there are other priorities that are going to protect people's lives, that there are other requests that ought to be honored, that are going to work to save people in time of conflict.
By attacking the people who do not support buying more planes, and to somehow bring into question the fact that there is some question about our commitment to the ability of the United States to succeed in war, is not just to attack us but to attack the military, the Pentagon, the ones that fight the war. They do not want the plane. They do not want it because they do not believe we can afford it and, frankly, a number of them believe that it is a cold war relic.
The B-2 was built. Its purpose was to fly inside the Soviet Union in the middle of a nuclear war to hunt down mobile targets. We could not find mobile targets in Iraq. Here we were to fly into the middle of the Soviet Union, in the middle of a nuclear war. That is why the plane was designed. That was its purpose. I was there when we first heard about what its purpose was. Any other new mission is a mission that was created here, in this House, by some people who were concerned about national security and some people who were concerned about jobs. I respect that, but I do not support jobs bills coming out of the Federal Government. I used to fight them up here. Jobs are to be created in the private sector. That is why we are trying to balance the budget and get lower interest rates.
The simple fact of the matter is it does not have a mission anymore. I will suggest to Members that I was engaged in the negotiations with our Secretary of Defense and with the people at the Pentagon and we signed up to an agreement, 20 planes. That is what they said they needed. I talked with our former Secretary of Defense, Mr. Cheney, who said, contrary to any letter he signed, `I want 20.' We made an agreement to build 20. We are going to spend $44 billion to buy 21 B-2's. Every time I look at the math, the math gets creative. We get creative math. `Well, the next set is going to cost less.' I know this. Show me the money. The money is, for 21 planes, we spent $44 billion, and we will have 21 of these planes that will function.
Second, the bombers. The last time I checked, the bombers worked pretty good in Iraq. In fact, the statement was it made the rubble bounce. They worked well.
We need standoff weapons. If we want to talk about putting people at risk, why would we want to develop a system where you fly over the enemy if you can actually stand outside, away from the enemy, and destroy the same targets? The response to that is, `We can't afford those standoff weapons.'
Well, if we did not spend another $27 billion on a plane that the Pentagon does not want, maybe we could buy the standoff weapons. The last time I checked, there was a big report that came out that said we had a severe readiness problem that jeopardized the ability of the military to function effectively. In this bill, we have not significantly increased the amount of money for readiness. Some people argue we cut it. There was a study that just came out and said we were not ready.
I would suggest we take the $351 million we have and put it into readiness, help the guard, the reserve. Help them. Give them the money they need. The fact is, is that passing more B-2 bombers in my judgment undermines the ability to have a strong national defense because it puts our money in the wrong priority items.
I am a supporter of the F-22 for one reason: Air superiority. We need it. I am for it. I believe in it. I believe in the F-16. Did my colleagues see the number of F-16's that would have to be canceled over the lifetime of this to buy a weapon the Pentagon does not want? I know this in my career around here. When the Pentagon wants something, we give it to them. And when the Pentagon does not want something, we give it to them.
The simple fact is, is that my friend, the gentleman from California, I hold in the highest regard. He is absolutely committed to a strong national defense and I salute him for it. And I salute a lot of my opponents on this issue. I really do. I have high regard for the work that they do in the House. But this is really a matter of judgments and a matter of priorities, not a matter of who is more for us to win and be effective and provide for the security of our people.
We firmly believe that with the B-1's, with the 21 B-2's, and with B-52's that have not flown, that in fact there are appropriate missions for all of those bombers. Just this last week we defeated additional D-5 missiles that go in the submarines, that are another standoff weapon.
The age of the future is about technology, and it is about air superiority, and it is about mobility. But not necessarily mobility as it relates to a plane like the B-2, which the military itself says does not fit in their plans for mobility. The fact is we are going to move into the next century. The cold war is over, and the cold war relics that are associated with the cold war have to be put in their place.
Do we have a hedge? Do we have a hedge against some potential threats out in the future? The answer is yes. But what we should not do is undermine our ability to allow the Department of Defense in working with the Congress to set the right priorities for the next century, to have a military budget that right now cannot all be funded and not to stick another program in that costs $27 billion, that will in fact undermine our ability to have effective conventional weapons and our ability to have a high state of readiness for the American soldier and sailor and airman.
I would say to my colleagues, the debate is not over the 21 bombers. Mr. Chairman, I am not asking the House to kill the 21 B-2's that cost the $44 billion. I am asking the House to stay with the agreement. I am asking the House to reject the idea that we can afford another $27 billion to buy additional B-2's.
I am asking the House to cast a vote for national security, for national defense, and for the fighting men and women, so that in fact we can be more effective. Let us not undermine the ability to win the wars and to pursue a good national security strategy by putting too many things in a bill that the military itself says we do not need.
Mr. HUNTER. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume, just to respond briefly to the remarks of the gentleman from Ohio [Mr. Kasich].
Mr. Chairman, first, the gentleman from Ohio [Mr. Kasich], for whom I have great respect, said the cold war is over and the B-2 is a cold war relic.
The problem with the Soviet Union dissolving is they did not dissolve their SAM production. That is surface-to-air missiles. They are designed to do one thing, and that is kill American aircraft. That is how they shot down Scott O'Grady over Bosnia. Basically a little batch of teenagers in uniform with 3 weeks' training time in SAM missiles delivered from the Soviet Union, now Russia, were able to shoot down an American high-performance aircraft.
Mr. Chairman, the red on this map of the world denotes all of the nations that have SAM sites: Libya, Syria, North Korea, and China have lots of SAM sites. That means that if Americans drive nonstealth aircraft into those SAM sites as the gentleman from California [Mr. Cunningham] said, a number of them are going to die. Second, the gentleman from Ohio [Mr. Kasich] should be happy to know that we have saved in the reform part of this budget according to CBO $15 billion over the next 5 years. That is enough according to CBO to purchase the $12 billion buy of B-2's and, once more, it is 1/35th of what we are going to spend for short-range aircraft.
Mr. DICKS. Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman yield?
Mr. HUNTER. I yield to the gentleman from Washington.
Mr. DICKS. The gentleman from Ohio [Mr. Kasich] says stealth does not matter. Stealth helped us win the gulf war. But this was after Saddam had already grabbed Kuwait. We then blew him out of the ground, in essence, with the F-117. What we are saying is with the B-2, we can stop him from getting Kuwait. That is the big difference.
Mr. HUNTER. The gentleman makes a good point. Saddam Hussein gave us 6 months to build airfields and acquire airfields. We cannot guarantee that in every situation.
Mr. DICKS. If we could stop him before he gets there, we could save billions of dollars and save many, many lives.
Mr. HUNTER. Mr. Chairman, I yield 2 minutes to the gentlewoman from California [Ms. Harman], a very articulate member of the committee.
Ms. HARMAN. Mr. Chairman, the gentleman from Ohio [Mr. Kasich] was talking about priorities. I rise in support of the B-2 and its priority role in American military strategy. This amendment offers us the wrong choices. This issue is not about the reserve components or about whether the B-2 is capable of doing what it is advertised to do. In future warfare, technology will be more important than manpower. Using large forces, whether for combat or to support forces engaged in combat, will be very risky given the lucrative target they present for weapons of mass destruction.
The reserve components are being drawn down, and that is an appropriate course of action given likely warfare scenarios. Trading the B-2, a vital asset for all parts of our strategy, to fund reserve component accounts that will be substantially reduced in the future does not make much sense. The question is not whether the B-2 does what is promised, as some would have us believe, or whether other platforms can do the same job, because B-2 performance exceeds standards. We have heard about its stealth, we have heard about how it can meet the QDR requirements of shape, respond and prepare. It is the only system that can fly great distances, penetrate hostile airspace and deliver massive amounts of munitions on key targets with acceptable, even minimal, risks.
During last week's debate on the defense authorization bill, I repeatedly stated my view that we can buy a better defense for less money. We can. We can and we must fund essential weapons systems including long-lead funding for 9 more B-2s. We can and we must cut outmoded weapons systems and excess infrastructure. That is the right trade. The trade in this amendment is the wrong trade.
I urge a `no' vote.
Mr. DELLUMS. Mr. Chairman, I yield 2 minutes to the distinguished gentleman from Wisconsin [Mr. Obey].
Mr. OBEY. Mr. Chairman, this amendment cuts $331 million, a down payment on 9 B-2 bombers that we do not need, and it moves the money to the guard and reserve. It is simply that simple. But this is not about just $330 million. This will remove a $27 billion time bomb from the budget.
In my view, this provision represents Congress at its very worst. It jams more weapons into this bill without having any way to pay for those weapons over the long term, it gives the contractors the goodies that they have lobbied for for so hard and long, but it does not cut out other low-priority items in order to pay for the long-term costs of the system, and we are not talking about loose change.
For the cost of just one of these bombers, we could pay for the undergraduate tuition for every single student at the University of Wisconsin for the next 11 years. Now that is not small potatoes. For the cost of just two of these bombers, we could double the cost of cancer research in this country.
Which investment do my colleagues think will protect more families from the threat that they really face? An investment in two more B-2 bombers or a doubling of cancer research in this country?
There have been five studies that have indicated that this weapon is not needed in preference to other weapons. There have been five studies which say do not go ahead with it. Secretary Cohen's quarterly defense review or quadrennial defense review said this in part in opposing the B-2: It said existing forces would have to be retired immediately to pay for the additional B-2's. Even then the savings from retiring the forces are not enough to offset the large upfront investment for the B-2's, and there would be a loss in war-fighting capacity during the decade or more between when the outgoing forces were retired and all the B-2's were delivered.
Mr. Chairman, that alone ought to tell my colleagues vote for this amendment.
Mr. HUNTER. Mr. Chairman, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from Texas, Mr. Sam Johnson, former POW, great Thunderbird driver, and great pilot.
Mr. SAM JOHNSON of Texas. Mr. Chairman, as my colleagues know, we forgot what we are here for, and that is to protect the United States of America. The B-2 is expensive, but we know it is the only available system that can directly attack heavily defended areas anywhere in the world from the United States within hours. We do not have to deploy, we do not have to escort, we do not have to create a big force. It means that B-2 is likely to carry most of the burden in any war.
To say that we have 21 and that should be enough is naive and dangerous. That number was kind of pulled out of the air anyway, I think. The gentleman from California, Mr. Duncan Hunter, mentioned earlier that 10 percent of our B-52's missions were destroyed in Vietnam.
I was in Vietnam. I was a POW there for nearly 7 years, and let me tell my colleagues something. I watched the missiles fired around us until we thought the sky was going to be like daylight. It was night. I watched three B-52's get hit in the air. Do my colleagues know what? That airplane is old. It cannot get in anywhere without getting hit. They exploded right there in the air, right in front of my eyes, and I saw some of our countrymen die on the spot, burn to death, and those that got out, bailed out, got to Earth, and do my colleagues know what? They got imprisoned just like I was, and one of the tail gunners had his leg cut off by a Vietnamese because they were mad at him.
Do we want that? I do not think so. I think we want to protect our men. We need to provide the equipment, the military equipment, the most modern equipment that we can provide for them so that if we ever get into any situation like that again, and it does not have to be like Vietnam, it can be as was stated before, a mission to destroy the tanks in a place like Iraq before they get moving.
We must protect our troops. Give them the airplane. Vote against this amendment.
Mr. HUNTER. Mr. Chairman I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from California [Mr. McKeon] a very articulate Member.
Mr. McKEON. Mr. Chairman, I want to thank the gentleman for all the work he has done on this bill. As my colleagues know, I had a speech prepared, but I think we are to the point on this debate after many years, that everything has been said and everyone has not said it yet, so I would like to say something a little different.
I had a new grandson born today, John Wells Morrison III, and as my colleagues know, my big concern is that when he is my age he is still here, and I am really concerned that when we determine that we can foresee 20 and 30 years out into the future and say that we no longer need this kind of equipment, I have real concern because it is not going to matter to me, I am not going to be here. But I am concerned about my 15 grandchildren, and I think that I have been where this plane is built, I have seen the capability of this plane. And then when we hear like the gentleman from Texas, Mr. Sam Johnson, who had to go to war, fly a mission that he was ill-equipped to fly, the plane was not the right plane for the mission, and yet he had to fly into harm's way and then spend 7 years in a prisoner-of-war camp, I think it is criminal that we would send our young people out with equipment that is not the best that we can provide them with.
Mr. Chairman, we need this plane, and we are talking about nine, nine planes. How many planes did we have flying in World War II? And in Vietnam? And in Desert Storm? We are talking nine planes to give us three wings, three divisions, that we can place around the world that would be a strong deterrent, strong help.
We need this. Defeat this amendment.
Mr. HUNTER. Mr. Chairman, I yield 1 minute to the gentleman from Kansas [Mr. Tiahrt] a B-2 proponent and expert.
Mr. TIAHRT. Mr. Chairman, I appreciate the opportunity because I have kind of a unique perspective. I am probably the only Member in Congress, I believe I am the only Member in Congress, that actually came out of aerospace, and I worked on some of the specifications for the B-2 so I know that the mission was not just to fly over Russia. It was to fly anywhere globally and attack any target that was protected by surface-to-air missiles.
But the reason I support the B-2 is really twofold. No. 1, it is economical in terms of human risk. If my colleagues look at the initial strike in Desert Storm, there were in excess of a dozen targets. It took 75 aircraft, placing more than 140 servicemen at risk by those initial strikes, and yet that same group of tasks, those same targets, could have been accomplished by just two B-2's, placing only four pilots at risk. So in human terms of human risk, this is a very economical weapon to have in our inventory.
And the second one is just the pure cost of maintaining the 75-plus aircraft, the procurement, the maintenance, the keeping them up. If we balance that with the cost of B-2's, it is more economical.
So it may be costly, but yet it is economical, and vote no on the amendment.
Mr. HUNTER. Mr. Chairman, I yield 1 minute to the gentleman from California [Mr. Rohrabacher], my friend.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. Mr. Chairman, first of all let me say I respect my colleagues, the gentleman from California [Mr. Dellums] and the gentleman from Ohio [Mr. Kasich] but I disagree with them on this issue.
We are making a decision today of what options our leaders will have 20 years from now. That is what is important when the gentleman from California's, Mr. McKeon's, grandson is around and we are not. Twenty years from now we do not want the option of our American political leaders just to be to go nuclear or to put hundreds of thousands of Americans at risk on the ground or to send in aircraft carriers with thousands of Americans on those and putting those people at risk.
I was in the White House when President Reagan was forced to bomb Libya. We put thousands of Americans on American aircraft carriers at risk. We had to fly out of American bases in England. We are not going to have those American bases in England throughout the world 20 years from now. We need weapon systems today for our leaders 20 years from now that will project power from the United States of America and put the fewest Americans at risk that can possibly be put at risk.
This is a cost-effective weapon when we look at the cost of this as compared to thousands of American lives in an aircraft carrier. We want to give future American leaders the option. I ask to defeat this amendment.
Mr. HUNTER. Mr. Chairman, I yield 1 1/2 minutes to my friend, the gentleman from Ohio [Mr. Traficant].
Mr. TRAFICANT. Mr. Chairman, I did not originally support the B-2. I once made a statement, `Why build them? Tell the Soviets we have 500. They can't see them, they can't hear them; how are they going to know?'
The wisdom of this House built the B-2. B-2 is an advantage. B-2 gives us the edge. Yes, it is costly, but how do you quantify the value of the lives of our troops? How many more Scot O'Gradys, America, might experience those types of disasters?
But there is one other thing today because today's debate is not about money, it is maintaining the position of strength to negotiate.
Ronald Reagan said America must always negotiate from a position of strength. The B-2 maintains America's position of strength. That is the greatest deterrent we have in international possible conflict.
Now, yes, we must balance the budget, but our major job here is to protect the national security. And, my colleagues, America cannot do it with the Neighborhood Crime Watch. We have got to step up.
The time to kill B-2 was at the beginning. Congress went ahead. Now to kill the B-2 is not cost effective. The major production costs have already taken place. Now the copies can come forward.
We cannot protect America with the Neighborhood Crime Watch. We must negotiate from a position of strength. Ronald Reagan was right about that. B-2 gives us the edge. Take the edge.
I oppose the amendment.
Mr. HUNTER. Mr. Chairman, I yield 45 seconds to my friend, the gentleman from New York [Mr. Solomon].
Mr. SOLOMON. Mr. Chairman, I do not think I need 45 seconds to tell everybody to come over here and vote for this vital piece of weaponry that we need desperately in this country.
I associate my remarks with the gentleman from Ohio [Mr. Traficant]. He makes more sense every day. I hope he does not run for Governor, I hope he stays here. But let me tell my colleagues something.
For those like my good friend from Florida, Mr. Foley, who sat in my office listening a few minutes ago, as my colleagues know, if they wonder, I suggest they put on a uniform every week and go and fly on those B-52 bombers that are in such bad condition that we do not know whether they are going to stay in the air from one day to the next. And my colleagues talk about young men and women serving in the military and giving the best money can buy. That is what we need to do right now is to come over here and vote for this B-2 piece of legislation.
Mr. HUNTER. Mr. Chairman, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from Texas [Mr. DeLay], the majority whip.
Mr. DeLAY. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman for yielding this time to me.
Mr. Chairman, we do have a very important choice to make tonight, and it is a choice between a policy that shortchanges the men and women that risk their lives in defense of our Nation or it is a policy that will provide those men and women with equipment and the tools that they need to ensure that our Nation remains the protector of democracy and freedom around the world.
Now we live in an age where when dictators are alive and well, they are busy stockpiling nuclear biological chemical weapons; and as leaders, we have to make sure that we send American soldiers into combat against these tyrants with the best possible chance of success.
And as Cap Weinberger noted, the Air Force has estimated that a B-2 with two crewmembers could conduct an attack normally involving 75 tactical aircraft and 147 crewmembers. The procurement and lifecycle costs of 75 tactical aircraft approaches $7.5 billion and the comparable costs for one B-2 is $1.1 billion.
Now clearly the B-2 provides us with the best opportunity to protect U.S. interests at the lowest costs with the best possible technology, and I just hope that my colleagues will make the right choice tonight. A vote against keeping the B-2 line open and operational is a very shortsighted vote, and in this dangerous day and age we cannot afford to make such ill-considered and shortsighted choices. We need to make the right choice for our service men and women and for the future of this country.
So, Mr. Chairman, I urge a `no' vote on this amendment.
Mr. DELLUMS. Mr. Chairman, I yield 1 minute to the gentleman from Virginia [Mr. Sisisky].
Mr. SISISKY. Mr. Chairman, I do not have much time. I do not think I have to apologize to anybody for supporting weapons systems that protect our young men and women.
It is amazing what we are arguing about. Like we do not have any sophisticated weapons in our arsenal, that we do not have any plans to build any sophisticated weapons in our arsenal. I cannot believe what is going on. I have heard somebody say, and I do not know who it is, that we are going to pay for this by the reform package of $15 billion that we are going to save. My friends, that is why we are in trouble today. That is why we are in trouble today. We are already spending the money that we might save.
I want to tell my colleagues something. I thought that this weapons system saw its end. I am going to tell my colleagues what is at stake tonight. Either we stop it now, we stop it now, or we are not going to stop at 9, we are going to have 60 and we are going to be talking about $100 billion.
Mr. DELLUMS. Mr. Chairman, I yield 1 minute to the gentleman from Maine [Mr. Allen].
Mr. ALLEN. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman for yielding me this time.
Mr. Chairman, during the course of this debate there have been times when it seemed if the question was whether the B-2 was a valuable plane, whether stealth technology was a valuable technology. That is not the issue. Stealth technology proved itself during the gulf war. We have 21 B-2 bombers. We do not need more. We cannot afford anymore than we have right now. We have difficult choices to make here today and that is why we are here. Mr. Chairman, $27 billion we are looking at, not $331 million; $27 billion needed just for nine planes.
An earlier speaker said we need 20 B-2's for 1 major regional conflict and 10 for another. I submit that 20 is enough, it will do the job, it is a good technology, we do not need more, and what we need to do is make sure that we are investing in our training and equipment for our troops, that we are providing the other alternatives that will keep our forces strong, and that we are not robbing domestic programs to buy nine more B-2's.
Mr. HUNTER. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself the last 2 minutes of my time.
Mr. Chairman, let me just answer my friend that there are a number of experts who disagree that 20 B-2's is enough. Brent Scowcroft with the Scowcroft Study that the gentleman has a copy of is one of those leaders who believes that. General Chuck Horner who ran the air war in the Persian Gulf, who utilized stealth and utilized precision-guided munitions, is on the Hill visiting Members' offices because he believes very strongly in having enough B-2's.
Let us get straight what we are talking about because Members have gone over a lot of things. We are talking about maybe 2 months worth of Wal-Mart sales. We are talking about one thirty-fifth of the amount of money that we are spending on short-range aircraft.
Interestingly, we are moving to short-range aircraft as we lose our bases around the world. We are down to 14 bases. Nobody has an idea as to whether or not we are going to be guaranteed those bases in Japan, for example, in a second Korean conflict. Nobody knows exactly how we are going to detox the airfields because we do not have enough detoxification equipment.
This is going to be the first time in our modern history when we have had the ability to make our pilots survivable and we told them no, and ironically, we said we do not want a relic flying, so we are going to fly 80-year-old B-52's, older than the great-grandparents of the pilots who wear the uniform of the United States of America.
We have the money. We saved $15 billion in the reform bill. I know that the gentleman from California [Mr. Dellums] will be pleased with that, over 5 years. That more than pays for the entire B-2 program.
Finally, the National Guard, which was supposed to benefit by the money that would be cut out of the B-2, says that they have an excellent modification program because of what the committee and the Congress has given them. We have messages there from the National Guard for every Member if we want to look at that. There is no problem there. Let us give our pilots the very, very best because we care about them.
Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.
Mr. DELLUMS. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the last word.
The CHAIRMAN. Pursuant to the rule, the gentleman, as the ranking minority member, is recognized for 5 minutes.
Mr. DELLUMS. Mr. Chairman, I yield to the gentleman from Massachusetts [Mr. Olver].
(Mr. OLVER asked and was given permission to revise and extend his remarks.)
Mr. OLVER. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman for yielding. I rise in favor of the Dellums-Kasich-Foley amendment.
Mr. DELLUMS. Mr. Chairman, I yield to the gentleman from Massachusetts [Mr. Kennedy].
Mr. KENNEDY of Massachusetts. Mr. Chairman, first of all, let me thank my friend from California, Mr. Dellums, for the marvelous job he has done on this bill not only this year, but in years in the past, and I hope tonight he is successful for all the efforts that he has made almost single-handedly at one time on this House floor to defeat the B-2, and we ought to acknowledge his efforts. I say to my friend, he has done a great job.
I come here as a strong supporter of domestic spending. We stood up this year and watched our housing cuts go by 25 percent. We have seen billions of dollars cut out of health care, WIC Program cuts, and fuel assistance cuts.
I am here to tell my colleagues that I believe that I would withstand all of those cuts and I would stand by the people that are in those programs who they themselves would give up those funds if they thought the national security of this country was at risk. If they thought we needed the B-2 bomber, they would vote for the B-2 bomber and they would be willing to spend the taxes to pay for it.
But this is not about the B-2 bomber, this is about a symbol. It is about a symbol of American might and freedom, it is about a symbol that is plain wrong. All we have to do is look at the Pentagon studies themselves to determine that the Pentagon is opposed to this. We ought to defeat the B-2 bomber and stand with the people of our country.
Mr. DELLUMS. Mr. Chairman, I rarely walk into the well; I generally speak from where the ranking member and the chair speak, but I choose to speak from the well because I want to speak to each and every one of my colleagues face-to-face.
First of all, for those of my colleagues who are the freshmen and the sophomore Members, that is half of this Congress, I would remind each and every one of them that they campaigned diligently on the integrity of balancing the budget. My colleagues were elected, Republican and Democrat, freshman and sophomore, on that basis.
This was not contemplated in the 5-year balanced budget agreement. This is not about B-2's. We have 21. All of this hyperbole, as if some way we are this Third World country technologically, is bizarre, extreme, absurd and ridiculous. We have 21 B-2 bombers. My colleagues leap quickly from the B-2 to the B-52, but they do not pause at the 95 B-1B bombers that you spent $20.5 billion building and billions of additional dollars giving them conventional capability.
Someone said the B-2 is the only long-range bomber. They know that is not true. The B-1 can fly as far as the B-2 flies. Both of them need tankers to refill them.
What is this about? It is not even about the $331 million that I transferred. I just made a transfer. It could have been transferred anyplace. The point I am making is that this is not about transfer. It is about trade-off. It is about $27 billion. We cannot go home saying we embrace a 5-year budget agreement that did not contemplate a $27 billion weapons system and push it into that budget and assume that we cannot push something out. We have to. We are going to have to push out other military priorities, and my colleagues know that is true. Integrity and truth demands that my colleagues answer yes to that.
For those of us who are not keenly interested in all of these issues, but are interested in domestic programs, with impoverished communities, at-risk children, undereducated people, underemployed, underhoused, inadequately fed, how can we say I voted for a $27 billion weapons system that no one wanted and 2 years down the road when the fire walls go down and they start raiding these budget programs, I hope someone gets up in the floor and points a finger and says how can we have that kind of hypocrisy.
We have to face it now. I am not coming back to the floor next year on this amendment, because this is it, folks. We have to stop it right now if we are going to stop it. I tell my colleagues, I bet every single thing that I have, and I am broke, that this will not come to just 30 planes. They will nickel and dime us to death and billion-dollar us to death. There will be 40 and 50 and 60, because once you start building these planes, the places where they get built, people do not want to stop them getting built. This is a $27 billion program.
Now, if we want to employ people, then let us go in the back room and dream up a $27 billion jobs program. I will show my colleagues how we can certainly put many more people to work than are presently working on these handful of B-2's. This is inappropriate, my colleagues, those of us who voted for a balanced budget, stand up with dignity and integrity and oppose this.
Mr. Chairman, no one wants it except the contractors and a handful of people. This is not about the balanced budget. That day is now over. There are no free rides. If we buy this, we are not going to buy something else, and it is either domestic or it is some of our other weapons systems. But the day of scratching each other's backs is over. I have lived long enough to see us being forced to the hard choices. Make me believe in this institution, make me believe in the integrity of the balanced budget. Oppose this B-2 and support this amendment.
Mr. SPENCE. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the last word.
The CHAIRMAN. Pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from South Carolina, as chairman of the Committee on National Security, is recognized for 5 minutes.
Mr. SPENCE. Mr. Chairman, I yield to the gentleman from California [Mr. Hunter].
Mr. HUNTER. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman for yielding. Let me just say to all Members of the House, sure, after the Air Force Chief of Staff and the Joint Chiefs were told by the President that they would not support a B-2, they saluted and they came down and they sat before us and said, we do not have the B-2 in our budget. Then we asked the Air Force Chief of Staff, in the words that are over on the side of the room here, would B-2's be valuable in war, and he said, B-2's would be extremely valuable in the Hawk phase; that is, when we stop the enemy tanks from rolling. Then he hesitated and he said, and in all other phases. I asked him the question, would the B-2's save lives, and he said yes, they would save lives.
My friends, we are going through really what is kind of a microcosm of defense itself. We had the war to end all wars, I guess that is the post-cold-war world that my friend from California refers to in the early 1900's. We called it the war to end all wars, and we were unprepared for the Second World War, where we did not get the 2-week warning time that the study that he refers to says we should have. Then we threw away our weapons after World War II, went from a military of 9 million people to a group that could not hold a third-rate military as it pushed us down the Korean peninsula. And we were not able to stop those tanks. After the world war was over, we cut again.
We have cut and we have cut the defense budget on an annual basis by $140 billion, from $404 billion in 1985, real money, to about $268 billion today.
Within those confines of the $268 billion, with the reform package we put together, a real reform package, we have enough money, $15 billion over 5 years, to buy all of those B-2's. We are asking for basically Wal-Mart sales for 2 months so that our pilots do not have to fly under the Bill Clinton scenario, 80-year-old B-52's, older than their great-grandfathers. Vote `no' on this amendment.
Mr. SPENCE. Mr. Chairman, I yield to the distinguished gentleman from Georgia [Mr. Gingrich], the Speaker of the House.
Mr. GINGRICH. Mr. Chairman, I thank my friend from South Carolina for yielding, and I thank my friend from California for the dignity and the way in which he has conducted this entire debate and the issue he is raising.
Mr. Chairman, I would like all of my colleagues to ask themselves a very basic question: Why do we buy weapons? In the end, as my friend said, it is not for pork, it is not for jobs; we have lots of ways to create jobs, and certainly the Congress, in its ingenuity over 200 years, has found many ways to do that.
Why do we buy weapons? We buy weapons to defend America. We buy weapons to prevent wars, when possible. We buy weapons to win wars, when necessary. We buy weapons to save American lives.
Now, in the 1920's and 1930's the Congress was antitechnology, antimilitary, consistently cheap, self-righteously certain; saw the world as one where there was no danger, and in 1941, 1942 at Pearl Harbor, Wake Island, Guam, the Philippines, Guadalcanal, we paid in blood, the blood of young Americans, because we were not ready.
Then immediately after World War II, this Congress forgot every lesson. We stripped the military. We cut out procurement. We weakened the system. And in 1950, a bunch of young kids in a thing called Task Force Smith were put on the Korean peninsula in an emergency, and they were slaughtered. And we paid in blood.
But in 1990, with an appropriate military investment, with adequate military forces, we put the finest professional military in the world with the finest technology on the field. We won a decisive victory with 100,000 casualties on the enemy side and less than 200 Americans dying. And we won decisively.
Why would you build a B-2? Not for today, but for tomorrow. For a time not very many years from now when a B-1B is going to be in desperate trouble trying to penetrate a sophisticated ground-to-air system. By 2010, you are going to have to suppress that system with enormous firepower for a B-1B to be there. And the weapon you are going to use to suppress that system is either going to be a missile or a B-2.
What if we are not based in the region? Many of my friends who are going to vote yes on this amendment do not want us to be in the regions that they want a short-legged aircraft to defend in. What if we do not have time to build up our force? We had from Labor Day until the spring of 1991, Labor Day of 1990 to the spring of 1991 to build up Desert Storm. But what if we have an opponent that studies our model and does not give us the time? What if we need to move decisively, quickly and win in a controlled manner? What if the President has the kind of threat that he says, I need something now, not in three months?
Here is the advantages of the B-2. It threatens a lot of current systems. The B-2 does not need a carrier battle group. It is less expensive per bomb delivered by any standard. The B-2 does not need an airfield close to the enemy. And it is less expensive than moving an airwing to the region by any standard. The B-2 does not need a huge complex air armada to surround it, to protect it, to suppress the ground-to-air missiles.
But finally, I would say to all of my friends, there is a good argument for voting yes for this amendment. There is a rational argument. I respect those who make it. If they are wrong and 10, 15, 20 years from now we do not have the weapons, we do not have the capability, we cannot project the power, either our allies could lose, we could lose, or the price of victory could be the blood of a lot of young Americans. If those of us who want to build a few extra aircraft are right, we will have saved those lives.
If we are wrong the truth is we will have wasted the money. Consistently in the history of this Congress, it is cheaper in the long run to build one more weapon and save American lives than it is to build too few weapons and run the risk. You decide which responsibility you want to answer. I would rather be wrong in favor of too good a defense with too good an airplane saving too many Americans, and I would rather vote in favor of giving our kids the best possible equipment.
The CHAIRMAN. The question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from California [Mr. Dellums].
The question was taken; and the chairman announced that the noes appeared to have it.
Mr. DELLUMS. Mr. Chairman, I demand a recorded vote.
A recorded vote was ordered.
The vote was taken by electronic device, and there were--ayes 209, noes 216, not voting 10, as follows:
Mr. ORTIZ and Mr. CALLAHAN changed their vote from `aye' to `no.'
Mr. ARCHER and Mr. COBLE changed their vote from `no' to `aye.'
So the amendment was rejected.
The result of the vote was announced as above recorded.
Mr. COX of California. Mr. Chairman, I was necessarily absent for this vote for medical reasons.