was on the team with Baker. “STEM
[science, technology, engineering
and math], that rings a bell with
them, as it does with everyone.”
The persistent threat of seques-
tration, the disruptions posed by
continuing resolutions and related
budgetary issues struck a particu-
lar chord during the presentations,
even with the two-year budget deal
that had been signed into law a
“I visited [members from] both
parties, and they were all in agreement that whatever good intentions were there for sequestration,
the outcomes have not been positive, especially when you look at
long-term cost growth in programs,” said retired Navy
Rear Adm. Thomas A. Cropper, a Navy League national director from the Pacific Central Region and president of the California State University Maritime
“I’m right there with you: No sequestration,” Rep.
Rob Wittman, R-Va., chairman of the House Armed
Services readiness subcommittee and a member of the
seapower and projection forces subcommittee, said
during his presentation from the Mid-Atlantic team of
Bre Kingsbury, Lincoln Smith and Bethany Klein.
He noted that while he was not entirely pleased with
the recent budget compromise, “it was better than
sequestration,” and he was hopeful that it would provide some stability and a less combative air to the
process that could be built upon in the future.
During his presentation by the Mid-Atlantic team,
House Appropriations Committee member Rep. Scott
Rigell, R-Va., said that with Paul Ryan, R-Wis., taking
over as Speaker of the House, he too was optimistic the
budgetary acrimony and turmoil of recent years might
be coming to an end.
“Ryan is a strong proponent of regular order,” said
Rigell, referring to the rules, precedents and customs
of Congress that constitute an orderly and deliberative
policy-making process, as opposed to the crisis-by-crisis
governing that has been emblematic of recent years.
When he was elected to his first term five years ago,
Rigell said, “Not many people were talking about regular
order and scheduling; it’s all we talk about now, and that
is a good thing. … This is serious business. These are people in harm’s way. Families are paying a price. It’s going to
be tough enough even if we are doing everything right.”
Rigell announced in January that he would not be
seeking re-election for a fourth term as representative
from Virginia’s 2nd District.
Smith, Kingsbury, who is vice president of development with the Hampton Roads Council, and Klein, executive director with the National Capital Council, also met
briefly with Rep. Randy Forbes, R-Va., chairman of the
House Armed Services seapower and projection forces
subcommittee — he was called away for a vote — and
staff members from the office of Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va.
“We had a succinct, well-conceived and easily under-
stood presentation that clearly identified the critical chal-
lenges faced by our sea services,” Giles said. “Members of
Congress listened with great interest, particularly regard-
ing the sea services’ importance to our national economic
stability, and the threat to our national security posed by
inadequate capital investment levels. …
“General reaction was expressed commitment to
provide supportive legislation and increased appropri-
ated funding to correct deficiencies. Moreover, there is
an evident understanding that there needs to be a bi-
partisan solution to remove the ongoing negative
impact on national security caused by the Budget
Control Act and the resulting sequestration.
“I believe the compromise leading to $30 billion
added for the Department of Defense in the 2016
omnibus spending bill was a result, in large measure,
due to our Navy League grassroots legislative affairs
initiatives during 2015, culminating in the very successful Fly-In,” Giles said.
Wittman, Forbes and Rigell urged the Mid-Atlantic
team members, and the Navy League as a whole, to
keep speaking up on behalf of the sea services in their
communities, since many people remain unaware of
the issues they face or the potential consequences — in
terms of national and economic security — should
these concerns not be addressed.
“We will stay after it,” Wittman said. “I hope you
will, too.” ;
U.S. Rep. Randy Weber, R-Texas, left, stands with Lone Star team members
Jeanne Coffey and Jack Ritter, former Navy League national vice president
for Legislative Affairs, after receiving a Fly-In briefing at his office Dec. 3.