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Government Press Releases by Federal Document Clearing House

Barr Reviews, Supports Continued Military Training At Vieques Also Tours US Navy Base At Guantanamo

August 7, 2001
Copyright © 2001 Federal Document Clearing House, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

WASHINGTON D.C. -- With Congress on a month-long recess, U.S. Representative Bob Barr (GA-7) is visiting the Puerto Rican island of Vieques this week, to review the U.S. military training facility designated for abandonment by the Bush Administration. Barr is leading a congressional delegation from the House Government Reform Committee, which has oversight over all government activities, including military readiness and national security.

"I have serious concerns, as do a number of my colleagues in Congress, with the Bush Administration's decision to close the military training facility at Vieques by 2003," Barr said. "Top-ranking military officials have repeatedly called this particular facility, the "crown jewel" of training sites available to the U.S. military because of its unique geographic make-up. I do not believe the important decisions related to our nation's military readiness should be made by popular referendum or in the face of political scare-tactics, such as those employed by Al Sharpton, some Members of Congress, and other extremist elements. In this particular case, my concern is heightened by the absence of any suitable replacement should this training facility be closed."

Barr's colleagues on the House Armed Services Committee supported this position last week, by passing an authorization bill requiring the Navy and Marine Corps to continue training at Vieques , "until the Commandant of the Marine Corps and the Chief of Naval Operations certify that an equal or superior location for training exists and is available for use."

In addition to a number of meetings and briefings on Vieques , with Army and Navy personnel, Barr is visiting the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt, on maneuvers in the region. Barr and his colleagues will meet with the ships's officers and discuss the importance of maintaining military training and readiness. Barr will end his trip with a visit to the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to view firsthand the critical tasks performed at this unique facility.

Barr, who is Vice-Chair of the House Government Reform Committee, concluded, "I look forward to meeting with our military leaders in the region and to gaining the necessary firsthand perspective of our armed forces' training and readiness. Following the congressional recess, I will be working hard to ensure the military receives the funding and support it needs in next year's defense budget."

Barr, a former federal prosecutor, represents Georgia's Seventh District. He serves on the House Financial Services, Judiciary, and Government Reform Committees.

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