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Floor Statement on Intelligence Authorization

Sep 29, 2010
Floor Statement
Ruppersberger Urges Members to Support H.R. 2701
Madam Speaker, as a member of the House Intelligence Committee, chairman of the Technical and Tactical subcommittee, and proud representative of the National Security Agency, I rise in support of H.R. 2701.
It has been nearly six years since an Intelligence authorization bill has been enacted into law.  These bills help ensure that the Intelligence Community has the tools it needs to keep us safe  and that Congress has the tools it needs to do effective oversight.  The bill before us today does both. I would like to highlight two provisions.  
First, the bill includes significant reforms to the way the Intelligence Community makes major purchases.  Our subcommittee has focused much of our time on helping to ensure that we buy the right kind of satellites at the right price.   Just like recent reforms to our defense procurement process, this bill helps us protect tax dollars while keeping our country secure.
The Nunn-McCurdy provision requires congressional notification when costs run significantly over-budget and cancels programs that run 25% or more over-budget unless we get a reasonable explanation. 
Second, the bill gives the Director of National Intelligence a voice in the process as we review and update security-related export controls known as ITAR.
These regulations restrict what American companies can sell overseas. But there are prohibitions on old, simple and widely-available technologies that are putting American companies at a severe disadvantage to foreign competitors.  Before the restrictions went into effect in 1998, 73 percent of the world market for commercial satellites went to US companies. By 2000, that figure had dropped to 27 percent.
Loosening these out-dated restrictions is critical to more than 250,000 American jobs supported by the satellite industry, which has taken a hit with the global economic turndown. Over the past 2 years, the industry has shed about 5% of its workforce.
In addition to this bill under consideration today, the House has passed an ITAR provision in the Foreign Affairs Authorization and we are waiting for the Senate to act.
Thank you Madam Speaker.  I yield back.