This was sent to my fire department from Rep. Jeb Hensarling Texas...

Funding for War Fighters Defended by Hensarling

On Friday, the House of Representatives considered H.R. 5385, an annual appropriations bill to fund programs related to military quality of life, veterans' health care and military construction projects. This legislation is different than the annual appropriation bill to fund our ongoing military operations and the periodic "emergency" supplemental appropriation bills that are used to specifically fund the War on Terror. As the son, grandson and brother of veterans and as a supporter of winning the War on Terror, I proudly voted for this $95 billion spending package, which represents an 11.4% increase over last year's level of funding. This funding is important because as President Calvin Coolidge once said, "A nation that forgets its defenders will itself be forgotten."

Unfortunately, when this bill came to the floor for consideration, the Appropriations Committee had included 66 Congressionally earmarked construction projects totaling $476 million that were not requested by the military. To do this, the appropriators displaced a number of long-term conventional projects that the President had requested in his regular budget. Ultimately, to pay for their pork and the President's projects, they used a gimmick so that they wouldn't exceed the bill's spending cap, and raided the money from a "War Reserve Fund" that Congress had created to be used only for future emergency spending directly related to the War on Terror.

Our commander-in-chief, President George W. Bush, issued a statement of administration policy objecting to the appropriator's raid:

"...the Administration opposes the use of war reserve funds for military construction projects. This funding should be used only for urgent construction directly related to the Global War on Terror, instead of funding regular construction projects related to long-term defense needs. In addition, the Administration urges Congress to remove funding for 66 unrequested projects, totaling nearly $0.5 billion, which divert funding from other higher-priority programs."

Like the President, I want to protect the funding designated for war fighters from the big spenders in Congress who want special projects in their districts at any cost.

On the House floor I raised six points of order against the spending gimmicks. Each of them was sustained and the funds were returned to the War Reserve Fund. Unfortunately, a few press reports left the misimpression with some that by this action House conservatives like myself had reduced funding for veterans or the war effort. That is, of course, false.

Please know I remain committed to fighting those who use budget "slight of hand" to either raid our War Reserve Fund or otherwise undermine budget discipline and accountability.