Leahy: Youth too fat for military show need for domestic programs
Senate Appropriations Committee Minority Leader Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., said Monday that the low percentage of Americans who are fit for military service shows the importance of funding domestic government programs.
In remarks as the Senate began consideration of the Defense & Labor, Health And Human Services, Education and Related Agencies “minibus” appropriations bill, Leahy said, “In 2017, it was reported that seven out of 10 people ages 17-24 in America would not qualify for military service because of reasons related to their physical health or education.”
“That means 24 million out of the 34 million young adults are ineligible due to obesity and other health problems, criminal backgrounds, or lack of education. This statistic should make it alarmingly clear that investments in our domestic priorities, like health care and education, are also national security investments. This is why we fought so hard for a budget deal to reverse the cuts on both defense and non-defense programs.
“As a result of the bipartisan budget deal, the Defense Appropriations bill before us gives the men and women of our armed forces the resources they need to carry out their missions effectively and safely. This is a goal that Republicans and Democrats have shared throughout this process.
“And the LHHS bill makes important new investments in health care and education. It increases funding for the National Institutes of Health by $5 billion over FY 2017 to aggressively pursue cures for diseases like cancer, diabetes and Alzheimer’s.
“It backs our commitment to increase access to higher education by increasing college affordability spending by $2.3 billion over FY 2017. And by increasing access to child care by $3.2 billion over FY 2017, this bill supports working families in communities around the country.”