Pair of Michigan congressmen back Rubio
Every day, the headlines around the world grow darker. The Islamic State is on the march, Iran takes American service members captive, Russia and China bully their neighbors. We support Marco Rubio for president because the stakes are too high to trust America’s national security to anyone else.
One example is his leadership on national defense.
In recent years, Congress has stood up to the Obama administration’s defense cuts through the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which helps Congress exercise oversight and authorize spending for key military priorities. The 2016 NDAA blocked the administration from transferring terrorists from Guantanamo Bay. It prohibited base closures and extended retirement benefits to the more than 80 percent of service members who serve for less than 20 years.
The NDAA’s impact can be felt all across Michigan. In 2014, the NDAA featured $17 million for a modernized barracks at the Army National Guard’s Camp Grayling. In 2015, it authorized $35 million for Selfridge Air National Guard Base to replace fuel distribution facilities to better support wide-bodied aircraft, and $6 million for a Remotely Piloted Aircraft Ground Control Operations Center in Battle Creek. From 2014-2016, the NDAA oversaw cumulative pay raises of roughly $6,000 per active duty service member in Michigan.
One of the most important contributions of the NDAA in recent years has been to protect the A-10 “Warthog” from retirement. The A-10 plays an important role in Harrison Township, where 21 A-10s are stationed at Selfridge Air National Guard Base. While the planes support 480 full- and part-time jobs at Selfridge, their most important contribution has come in the fight against ISIS. For half of 2015, roughly 450 Selfridge pilots and support personnel deployed to the Middle East to give ISIS fighters a taste of Michigan justice.
Not everyone in Congress has supported this vital legislation. For example, Ted Cruz has joined Democrats like Bernie Sanders in voting against the NDAA every year he has been in the Senate.
While Cruz has voted against military spending, Rubio has been a champion for America’s service members. He fought to restore defense spending to the bipartisan path established by former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates in 2012. Rubio has put forward a detailed and comprehensive plan to rebuild America’s military power. Rubio’s vision for our Armed Forces includes growing the Navy to at least 323 ships, restoring the active duty Army to 490,000 and Marine Corps to 182,000, and forward deploying a second aircraft carrier in the Pacific while expanding our carrier fleet to 12.
When Rubio is president, the U.S. military will buy the next-generation weapons systems it needs, such as the F-35 fighter, the Long Range Strike Bomber, and the Ohio-class replacement ballistic missile submarine. He will enhance our military readiness and ensure that men and women in uniform receive the training they need and deserve. The world will know that there will be “no better friend, no worse enemy” than the US military.
Bill Huizenga is a Zeeland Republican. John Moolenaar is a Midland Republican.