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Congressman Sestak Votes To Give Troops And Their Families The Resources They Need And Deserve

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Congressman Sestak Votes to Give Troops and Their Families the Resources they Need and Deserve

Posted on May 19, 2009 by assteditor http://www.addthis.com/bookmark.phpvar addthis_pub = \'peapolzmedia\';

Funds appropriately directed to meet national security needs Washington,

DC- Congressman Joe Sestak (PA-07) voted in favor of, and helped the House pass by a 368-60 margin, HR 2346, the supplemental appropriations bill that covers necessary costs to fund our troops and support their families. This legislation provides a total of $96.7 billion for: ongoing military operations; procurement; stop loss compensation; the improvement of Afghan security forces; and efforts to address a potential pandemic flu. Importantly, the bill is consistent with the need to shift the focus of our military from Iraq to Afghanistan and also address the increasingly dangerous situation in Pakistan.

"It is significant not only that we are allocating the appropriate resources to protect our troops and ensure their families are provided for, but also that the resources we are allocating will allow our military to execute the proper military strategy in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan," said Congressman Sestak.

"It is significant not only that we are allocating the appropriate resources to protect our troops and ensure their families are provided for, but also that the resources we are allocating will allow our military to execute the proper military strategy in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan," said Congressman Sestak. "We will fund the necessary safe and deliberate redeployment of our troops from Iraq in what is the most dangerous of operations, as well as the increase of our military presence in Afghanistan and the training of Afghan security forces and policies.

"In addition, it includes $2.3 billion for Pakistan to support counterinsurgency operations there and address the Pakistanis' economic crisis, which will help strengthen the government that opposed the Taliban. We must support this nation with development assistance in the tribal regions because this is ultimately, as we blunt the insurgency, a battle for 'hearts and minds.' Meanwhile, we cannot permit Afghanistan to slip any further because it cannot become a base again for the one third of the Taliban that have become 'al-Qaeda-ized.'"

The bill's military spending total of $84.5 billion - 87% of the bill's total appropriations - includes $47.7 billion for military operations and maintenance spending, and personnel, and $23 billion for new weapons procurement.

Personnel

The bill appropriates $17.9 billion for military personnel, including $10.9 billion for the Army, $1.8 billion for the Air Force, $1.6 billion for the Marine Corps, and $1.7 million for Navy personnel costs. The measure provides funds for the increased monthly rate of imminent danger pay, family separation allowances, hardship duty-location pay, and additional funds for basic allowance for housing.

Operations & Maintenance

The bill appropriates $33.8 billion for activities related to military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, including $14 billion for the Army, $6.2 billion for the Air Force, $2.4 billion for the Navy, and $1.1 billion for the Marine Corps. Funded activities include incremental flying hours, ship-steaming days, ground operations, special airlift missions, ship and aircraft maintenance, logistics support, fuel purchases, base support, spare parts, contracts for linguists, reconstruction, and costs associated with the mobilization to active duty National Guard and reserve personnel.

Afghan Forces: Of the $5.1 billion for Afghanistan, $3.6 billion is provided for Afghan security personnel and the new Afghan army, equal to the president's request. The total includes $3.2 billion for equipment and transportation for the Afghan army and $624 million for the police. The measure also provides $186 million for army training and $415 million to train Afghan police. The Afghan National Army and especially the Afghan National Police have struggled to meet training and recruitment goals. Currently, there are approximately 80,000 soldiers and almost an equal number of police.

Stop Loss: The bill appropriates $734 million in unrequested funds for additional pay for more than 170,000 servicemembers who have had their enlistments involuntarily extended since Sept. 11, 2001. The total allows for payments of $500 per month for every month servicemembers were held on active duty under "stop-loss" orders.

"As a former military officer, I understand the need to ensure our divisions are fully manned in combat," said Congressman Sestak. "However, because of the past failures to properly plan and execute the war in Iraq, there have unfortunately been many false promises and additional burdens placed on our brave troops, including the extensive use of the stop loss policy. As we execute a safe, deliberate redeployment from Iraq with a needed focus upon Afghanistan, we must not only provide troops affected by stop-loss with compensation, but also restore our military's readiness, including its personnel readiness to better ensure the United States' overall national security."

Afghanistan/Pakistan Performance Assessments:

The bill requires the president to report to Congress, not later than the date of submission of the FY 2011 budget request, assessing whether the governments of Afghanistan and Pakistan are demonstrating the necessary commitment, capability, conduct and unity of purpose to warrant the continuation of the president's policy announced on March 27, 2009. That policy reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to those countries. This report must include five concrete standards of performance:

o The level of political consensus and unity of purpose to confront the political and security challenges facing the region;

o The level of government corruption and actions taken to eliminate it;

o The performance of security forces with respect to counterinsurgency operations;

o The performance of intelligence agencies in cooperating fully with the United States and not undermining the security of U.S. troops and U.S. objectives in the region; and

o The ability of the government to control the territory within its borders.

Military Healthcare and Military Families

To help improve military healthcare, the bill provides more than $1 billion for the Defense Health Program to supply medical and dental services to U.S. forces as they support Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, and their family members, including:

o $100 million for research into Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and psychological health issues including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Since 2001, there have been 42,600 diagnosed cases of PTSD and over 58,000 servicemembers treated for TBI. The funding will continue the Defense Department's counseling, suicide prevention, tele-health and risk reduction efforts for servicemembers and their families.

o $68 million for orthopedic and other trauma research, treatment and rehabilitation. Nearly two-thirds of injuries sustained in combat involve muscles and bones. Amputations following battlefield injury now occur at twice the rate as in past wars. Understanding how to treat and speed recovery from orthopedic injuries should be one of the top priorities for the military health system.

o $20 million to purchase equipment for rehabilitation facilities. The equipment will enable continued state-of-the-art care for soldiers with various types of injuries to recover to their full potential and return to a more normal way of life.

To additionally support health care needs, the bill allocates:

o $1.1 billion for hospital construction to replace hospitals that are decades old and do not meet current standards for medical care. With the funds in this bill, Congress will have provided an additional investment of $3.3 billion in military hospitals since last year.

o $488 million for wounded warrior complexes to help soldiers wounded in combat recover and remain on active duty or transition to civilian life and support families through this process. The funds will allow for the construction of seven new complexes, bringing the total around the country to 16.

o $263 million to accelerate and enhance the construction of new hospitals at Bethesda and Ft. Belvoir to replace Walter Reed.

For families, the bill provides:

o More than $739 million for family advocacy programs, which provide families with access to child psychologists, child care, financial counseling and other support. There is a growing need for military families to have access to professional counseling and services to help alleviate mental stresses. This funding is intended to help the Department of Defense continue to provide programs, products and services to help families cope with the disruption and stress common for military families.

o $276 million for the construction of twenty-five new child development centers, which will provide care for an additional 5,000 kids. Access to child care is a top concern for military families. These funds build on work by the Department of Defense over the last few years to expand child development centers to accommodate an additional 13,000 children. In total, Congress has provided the funding to construct or expand over 90 child development centers since 2008.

o $238 million for the Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program, which will provide information, services, referral, and proactive outreach programs to members of the Reserve and their families for the challenges of mobilization and their return to civilian life.

Procurement

The bill appropriates $23 billion to replenish equipment and munitions expended during military operations in Iraq and in the war on terrorism. The total is $3.9 billion to replace and repair armored vehicles, precision equipment, munitions, and ammunition in order to restore inventories to pre-conflict levels.

Pandemic Flu

The bill provides $2 billion for efforts to address a potential pandemic flu. The total includes $1.5 billion for the Health and Human Services Department and the Center for Disease Control to supplement federal stockpiles, develop and purchase vaccines, and to expand detection efforts.

http://www.veteranstoday.com/article6863.html

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  • HadIt.com Elder

Its a start but they have a lot of damage to repair. I think that those who served in Iraq and Afghanistan should get a bonus for each month after 12 that they served.

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