Press Release of U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer

For Immediate Release:
May 18, 2004  
Contact:
Washington D.C. Office (202) 224-3553

Boxer Expresses Disappointment With Senate's Failure To Postpone Closure Of America's Bases  

Washington, D.C.-U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) today expressed disappointment with the defeat of a Senate amendment she co-sponsored that would have postponed the closure of America's bases by first exploring the possibility of closing excess military bases overseas.

"The loss of a military base can have a devastating impact on local communities. This is not the time to subject our fragile national economy to the impact of another round - especially when the DoD is threatening to close one-quarter of our domestic bases," Boxer emphasized in her Congressional Record Statement supporting the amendment.

Boxer added, "Given the ongoing war on terrorism and our current military operations in Iraq, now is not the time to close more bases. We must ensure that we have sufficient military assets to meet our growing challenges. At a time that our forces are stretched thin, it does not make any sense to waste resources in going forward with next year's round of base closures."

In addition to voicing her opposition to another round of base closures, Boxer called on the Department of Defense (DoD) to meet clean-up obligations at former California bases.

"It will be decades before environmental remediation is complete at some former bases in California. The DoD must meet its responsibilities to the people of California before moving forward with any future rounds of base closures," said Boxer.

The amendment (S.AMDT. 3158) was offered by Senators Trent Lott (R-MS) and Byron Dorgan (D-ND).

The full text of Senator Boxer's Congressional Record Statement is attached.

 

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Congressional Record Statement of U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer
S.AMDT. 3158
May 18, 2004

Mr. President, I am proud to be a cosponsor of this important amendment to look at closing excess overseas military bases before moving forward on any future round of base closures in this country.

Over the past several years, I have consistently opposed additional rounds of base closures. The loss of a military base can have a devastating impact on local communities. This is not the time to subject our fragile national economy to the impact of another round - especially when the DoD is threatening to close one-quarter of our domestic bases.

In addition, I object the Department of Defense's request for more base closures when it has failed to clean up former military bases shuttered during the previous four rounds. It will be decades before environmental remediation is complete at some former bases in California. The DoD must meet its responsibilities to the people of California before moving forward with any future rounds of base closures.

Given the ongoing war on terrorism and our current military operations in Iraq, now is not the time to close more bases. We must ensure that we have sufficient military assets to meet our growing challenges. At a time that our forces are stretched thin, it does not make any sense to waste resources in going forward with next year's round of base closures. These are uncertain times and it is impossible to know what the force structure of the U.S. military will be in the near future.

This amendment is a compromise. It allows the base closure process to move forward next year - but only for our installations overseas. It is logical to look at excess capacity overseas before looking at our domestic bases here at home.

Mr. President, I am proud to cosponsor this important amendment and urge my colleagues to support it.