Hurd on the Hill: Land of the Free Because of the Brave
Celebrating the Fourth of July often means good food, outdoor fun and eye-catching fireworks with friends and family. The anniversary of our nation’s founding should also cause reflection on the sacrifices made by so many patriots who have ensured the prosperity of our country and protected the values, ideals and people on which our Republic has been built.
During my time as an undercover CIA officer, I was proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with the men and women in the United States military who put their lives on the line to protect the freedoms we enjoy each day; and, it is with continued pride that I get to represent more than 4,600 active-duty military and 45,000 military veterans in the 23rd Congressional District of Texas. Our troops give so much on our behalf and they should have the resources necessary to fulfill their duties to the best of their abilities. It’s the job of Congress to ensure that our military can do theirs.
Our Constitution states in Article 1 that Congress will “provide for the common defense” of our nation. For the last 56 years, Congress has executed this duty by passing the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Through the NDAA, Congress specifies the funding level for and determines the policy around how money will be spent to supply, equip and train our troops and it sets national security policy in a dangerous world. This week, we will decide how much to spend on our national defense for fiscal year 2018.
Our troops have been facing a readiness crisis because of a half-decade of cuts. The current NDAA focuses on repairing the military and restoring combat readiness, while providing the tools for a our military leaders to improve our ability to effectively confront aggression and address threats to our homeland and way of life. The tools provided to our men and women in the military through the NDAA will be the key to defending our country whether the threats come by land, sea, air, space or cyberspace.
Another important aspect of the NDAA is that it provides our dedicated service members and their families with continued access to medical care and improved benefits while fully funding a much-deserved pay-increase. This bill makes clear to both our friends and our foes that we are ready to defend ourselves, by providing the tools and resources necessary to prepare our troops for combat while ensuring their families are taken care of back home.
I will stand tall and continue fighting for our nation’s heroes to ensure they receive the training, tools, and care that they deserve. Our troops’ decision to join the military has had a direct impact on our lives, whether we realize it or not. We can call our great nation the land of the free – because of the brave.