State Rep. Lytton chosen as assistant majority floor leader; U.S. Rep. Larsen on defense bill conference committee

Dec 7, 2011

Bellingham Herald

By Jared Paben

December 7, 2011

In other news, U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Everett, has been appointed to a U.S. House-U.S. Senate conference committee to hammer out differences on a 2012 defense authorization bill, which sets policies and spending for the Department of Defense. Larson is a member of the House Armed Services Committee.

“As a conferee on the defense authorization bill, I will continue advocating for responsible policies and programs that make the United States better able to confront the challenges of this century,” he stated in a press release.

Following is his press release with his position on defense issues:

Focus on the Asia-Pacific Region

“One of my top priorities is pushing the Defense Department, specifically the Navy, to pivot to the Asia-Pacific region. The United States is poised to play an important role in the area economically, diplomatically and militarily. We need to aggressively pursue opportunities in the region. The President’s recent trip to the region and the announcement that U.S. Marines will rotate through Australia as part of our treaty obligations, are steps in the right direction.”

Supporting Naval Programs Important to Northwest Washington

“Northwest Washington is home to manufacturing and basing for several important defense programs. I will continue fighting to keep these programs strong. I will advocate for continued construction of key Navy ships and planes, including the P-8A Poseidon, the EA-18G Growler and the DDG destroyers. These planes and warships enhance U.S. security, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region, and are important economic engines for Northwest Washington. I am particularly interested in seeing future destroyers based at Naval Station Everett.”

Nuclear Non-Proliferation

“I am a strong supporter of efforts to secure vulnerable nuclear material and stem proliferation. I will argue for robust funding of the National Nuclear Security Administration and Department of Defense efforts to expand our nuclear containment efforts.”

Improving Foreign Aid and Development

“We need to improve the way our country uses foreign aid and development in security zones around the world. I will continue supporting an effort to pool Defense and State Department resources in the Global Security Contingency Fund for more effective foreign aid and development. By allowing the two departments to work together, we will make better use of their strengths and be better able to comprehensively address security involving both the military and the State Department.”

Accelerate the Drawdown in Afghanistan

“We can accelerate our drawdown in Afghanistan, bringing our troops and resources home faster than the President has outlined. Our forces have killed Osama bin Laden and largely dismantled the terror network in Afghanistan. I will make that case to the conference committee, and push for a plan and timeframe for an accelerated transition of military operations to Afghan authorities, as I did when I voted for the McGovern amendment on the floor.

Fighting Against Misguided Detainee Policy

“The Senate version of this bill has egregious provisions mandating military detention of terrorist suspects, which could include American citizens. The top national security experts in our country—including the secretary of defense, the director of national intelligence and the director of the FBI—oppose these provisions which they say would disrupt terrorism investigations and tie the hands of law enforcement professionals. The provisions could even authorize indefinite military detention of Americans who are accused of planning of participating in terrorist activities. These provisions cut against sound Constitutional provisions, and I will fight to remove them from the final bill.”

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