12.03.19

Senator David Perdue: Military Housing Conditions Are Unacceptable

Questions Army Leaders On Lead Remediation At Fort Benning

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator David Perdue (R-GA), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, today questioned Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy and Chief of Staff of the Army General James McConville about reports of substandard housing conditions at U.S. military installations, including Georgia’s Fort Benning.

Click here to watch Senator Perdue’s questioning.

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Lead Remediation At Fort Benning

Senator Perdue: “General McConville, I visited Fort Benning, one of our great heritage sites in the country, recently. It happens to be in my home state of Georgia. I just met with General Brito down there. He’s doing a fabulous job. There’s a different problem in Columbus. You have these historic homes. They have lead, and they’ve probably had asbestos before. Some of this has been dealt with in the past. Give us an update on how that lead problem is being dealt with, the progress that is being made, and the displacement that has occurred.”

General McConville: “As you know, we’re going through the homes right now. Lead is a huge issue. We are very, very concerned with our families. We are remediating the homes, but it takes time. I think we’re working about eight to nine homes a week and it’s going to take us some time. It’s going to take us two to three years with these homes to get them to the level we want them to be.”

Senator Perdue: “Would you get your staff to keep us updated each month about the progress of that project specifically? Because I think that’s a bellwether of all the bases out there.”

General McConville: “It is, Senator, and we will.”

Continuing Resolutions Delay Housing Improvements

Senator Perdue: “I grew up in base housing. What’s happening right now is unacceptable. But I want everybody in this hearing to understand the hypocrisy that you’ve heard this morning. We’re pointing fingers at contractors, and yes, there’s culpability there and it needs to be dealt with. There are leadership issues, maybe within the Department of Defense, that need to be dealt with. But the one thing we’re not talking about is the responsibility we have in Congress. This is the third month of our fiscal year, and we have not funded our men and women in uniform, period. We’ve sent a message to Putin and Xi that political games here are more important than our men and women in uniform. That’s unacceptable and it directly affects housing capability. The Army did a study recently that said construction of 4,400 new units is being held up because of this continuing resolution. Would you give us an update as to the impact continuing resolutions have on fixing military housing conditions?”

Secretary McCarthy: “$1.1 billion requested specifically for housing restoration and modernization is being held up right now. We cannot start the projects. We cannot initiate the projects. We don’t have the funding.”

Senator Perdue: “So the projects that are already underway, does it affect any of those?”

Secretary McCarthy: “In some cases, yes sir.”

Senator Perdue: “I want full accountability here, and we in Congress bear the brunt of this. Had we funded the military prior to September, the projects that you guys have already started could be continuing right now. I just want the people who are being affected to understand that the fix can’t be accomplished as long as these political games are being played.”

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When Senator Perdue was elected, he was the only Fortune 500 CEO in Congress. He is serving his first term in the United States Senate, where he represents Georgia on the Armed Services, Banking, Budget, and Agriculture Committees.