Rep. Luria discusses Jan. 6 committee, military budget

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Posted at 2:31 PM, Jul 08, 2021

NORFOLK, Va. - Local Congresswoman Elaine Luria is one of seven Democrats selected to serve on a select committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.

"I think this is incredibly important work - finding out what are the events that happened on Jan. 6? What are the causes of those, and what things need to be done to prevent something this from happening in the future?" Luria told News 3 in an interview this week.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi named Luria to the committee last week. Republican Liz Cheney, who's broken off from her party on this issue, has also been named to the committee. The next step is for House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy to name other Republicans to the committee.

"I made interest known, but I'm on two committees of jurisdiction. I sit on the Armed Services Committee as vice chair. I'm also on the Homeland Security Committee, so the work that I'm doing in those other committees does overlap with the work that we're going to be doing on this special committee," Luria said.

This week marked six months since the riot, and there are still plenty of questions about what happened.

"I want to know why did this happen? Where were there failures in intelligence? We heardthe Norfolk FBI field office had a pretty comprehensive reportabout the threats of what could happen on Jan. 6. Why didn't that make it to the right people? Why was there a delay in calling the National Guard?" asked Luria.

The House originally voted to establish an independent commission to investigate what happened, but it didn't pass the Senate. The select committee is now the method Congress will use to investigate, and Luria hopes it won't get too political.

"The intent is for this to be nonpartisan. As you can see, even the members who've been appointed now are bipartisan. We have Republican Liz Cheney joining the group as well. I would say all members who are currently on the committee are very serious about getting to the facts and not making this political," she said.

News 3 also talked with Luria about the 2022 defense fiscal budget. This week, Luria wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, saying the Pentagon's budget doesn't go far enough to address the threat posed from China.

"You say China is the biggest priority. You say it's the biggest threat, but when you come to Congress and request what you need for our military, they don't match," said Luria. "For example, the Navy was going to decommission more ships more ships this year than they were going to build."

Luria says discussions are happening to add back some of what the Navy and other military branches may have left out of their budgets.

"I do think the defense budget should be higher. I would've liked to see the submission be 3-5% real growth over inflation. It was relatively flat and actually slightly declining because of inflation, so I think this needs to be our top priority," she said.

The issue is critical to Hampton Roads, which has such reliance on military spending.

"As a representative of this area and understanding how important the presence of the Navy and DOD is to our economy, it's people's jobs and livelihood and it goes beyond that. I think so many people here who've served themselves understand that it goes well beyond just that aspect. These are things that are needed for the defense of our nation," said Luria.

Luria is at odds with some of the more progressive members of her party, who think the Pentagon's budget could be trimmed to help fund other priorities.

"We have to defend our county, and it's truly our mission in the Constitution to defend the nation. I take that very seriously as vice chair of the Armed Services Committee. I need to be one of the strongest voices - not only for our community, but because of the background that I bring as a 20-year veteran myself about why this spending for defense is so important."