|"Mr. Chairman – |
"On July 4th a 6.4 magnitude earthquake hit Ridgecrest, California. A day later, our Ridgecrest community experienced a 7.1 magnitude earthquake.
"People felt this throughout Southern California, but the epicenter of these earthquakes were located on Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake. Hundreds of aftershocks have already occurred, and are still occurring.
"The Navy announced that due to the earthquake-related damage, China Lake was not mission capable and that non-essential personnel had to be evacuated.
"This is significant because China Lake, along with neighboring installations, form a cornerstone of our national defense architecture that integrates all operational domains - air, land, sea, space, and cyberspace. The men and women who work here help test and develop the technology needed to equip our warfighters with the very best weapons and tools to ensure our military remains second to none.
"My amendment, which I offered with Congressman Cook, and was included in this en blocpackage, would:
"Authorize $100M to help address China Lake’s most immediate needs; and,
"Require the Department of Defense to develop a plan by October 1st to assess, repair, and modernize the infrastructure and facilities at China Lake and other installations in the R-2508 Special Use Airspace Complex damaged by the earthquakes.
"The extent of the damage is still being assessed, but we need to ensure that we are not only repairing this important base to address the threats facing our nation today, but in the years ahead.
"But, Mr. Chairman, I want to be clear to my constituents in Ridgecrest and Kern County – this amendment is just an initial step in helping China Lake and the communities I represent impacted by these earthquakes recover.
"Over the coming days, weeks, and months, I ask my colleagues in this Chamber and in the U.S. Senate to join with me to ensure Ridgecrest, China Lake, and all communities impacted by earthquakes and natural disasters have our full support and are provided the resources they need to quickly rebuild and get back to normal.
"I also ask my colleagues to join me in thanking all the local first responders and local, state, and Federal emergency response officials who have worked non-stop over the past several days to ensure our constituents affected in Ridgecrest were safe, have food and water, and a place to sleep. Finally, I also want to thank the thousands of residents across our communities for their help, their actions, and their prayers for their neighbors in need.
"It is said that “adversity does not build character, it reveals it.” Earthquakes can shake our foundations, but the residents of Ridgecrest should hold their heads high – in this time of adversity, their true character has shown, and it is an inspiration to all of us.
"I urge my colleagues to support this amendment. I yield back."