February 25, 2017

Push partisanship aside | The Journal

As a proud new member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I sent a letter to President Trump this week describing West Virginia’s priorities that I believe will benefit our state and nation. While I firmly believe that the national debt is one of the greatest threats facing this nation, I also believe that we must continue to invest in the values and principles that make this nation the greatest country on Earth. We must continue to take care of our children and help those in need; strengthen our economy and create jobs; keep our promises to seniors and veterans; preserve national security; and invest in infrastructure and energy independence.

As a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee and a former member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, I am aware of the many, diverse threats facing our country today. From near-peer competitors, to rogue states armed with ballistic missiles, to transnational terrorists, and increased vulnerability to cyber-attacks, America must be ready to confront any and all threats to our way of life and core values.

West Virginia is already home to first class training facilities, like Camp Dawson in Preston County and the The Center for National Response in Kanawha County, and we are ready and willing to offer additional support to our national security in a variety of cost effective, efficient ways. The Mountain State is blessed with incredible resources and talent, and I encouraged the President to capitalize on our proximity to Washington D.C. by further developing transportation nodes, communications architecture, alternative headquarters and command and control nodes, and new training opportunities for our national security personnel serving at all levels and capacities.

I am committed to working with the President to rebuild our nation’s military, and I am committed to accomplishing this goal in a fiscally responsible manner. The readiness of our national defense is extremely low and our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines are paying the price and risking their lives by operating degraded weapons systems. Our troops deserve the best there is to offer, and we must better prepare our brave men and women in uniform to win these difficult fights both on the battlefield and in cyberspace. As a former Governor, I know first-hand what a critical role the National Guard plays in protecting this great country and helping its people respond to disasters. I encouraged the President to make investments in this force that have so bravely served us both domestically and abroad.

West Virginians and all Americans are demanding that we get our financial house in order, but we must confront our fiscal situation by clearly aligning our priorities with our core values as Americans. We cannot throw the baby out with the bathwater. I look forward to working with President Trump, his administration and my colleagues in Congress to put partisanship aside and set our nation on a new course for fiscal responsibility.