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Friday, August 01, 2008

Senate Republicans Block Funding for Troops

As part of their pledge to hold their breath until they turn blue on behalf of the oil companies (who have thrown their considerable financial weight, yet again, to the GOP precisely for service like this), Senate Republicans have voted down a troop funding bill which would have helped military personnel in a number of ways:
Democratic leadership, initially furious over the obstructionism, is now calling their bluff. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid last night introduced a Department of Defense Authorization bill that would, among other things, include a 3.9 percent across-the-board pay raise for military personnel; major funding increases for research into traumatic brain injury treatment and troop suicide prevention efforts; $26 billion for the Defense Health Program, and $500 million for Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles.
Harry Reid's statement on the vote:
Washington, DC-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid made the following statement today after Senate Republicans blocked the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2009:

"As has been their hallmark this Congress, Bush-McCain Republicans have once again run away from an important debate, failing to back up their words with action. Despite their strong rhetoric on supporting our troops, they have refused to give them a well-deserved pay raise, denied our troops mine-resistant vehicles to keep them safe and said no to ensuring our servicemen and -women get the health care they need.

"It is this kind of misplaced priorities that is making America less secure. Our military readiness is down, Afghanistan is slipping further into violence, Pakistan remains in crisis, and Osama bin Laden and Ayman al Zawahiri are still on the loose nearly seven years after 9/11. The Iraq war is not only costly, but President Bush and John McCain have provided no plan for responsibly ending the war and returning to the fight against al Qaeda and the Taliban.

"Republicans' rejection of this vital bill is indefensible. It shows a lack of support for our troops and underscores how desperately America needs more Senators committed to change."
It's absolutely reprehensible that the Senate GOP would hold this funding hostage for political reasons, simply to aid their oily benefactors. Reprehensible, but not surprising, unfortunately.

And also falling into the unsurprising column, our own unfortunate voice in the Senate (for the time being) Roger "Lockstep" Wicker, voted with his party and against the interests of the troops while dutifully representing those of the oil companies. So did Thad Cochran. Exactly what we can expect from Senators who place Party ├╝ber alles.

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