Saturday, May 17, 2008

Bachmann and Kline go AWOL: Amendment 1 HR 2642

Congresswoman Bachmann and Congressman Kline, while voting present on the first amendment to HR 2642, the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, would be considered derelict in their duties by this Veteran.

For two leaders who publicaly tout their "patriotism" they may have voted "present" on this vote, but they were in fact AWOL.

So what did Bachmann, Kline and 129 other Republicans vote "present" on?

Anybody remember the horrific conditions our Veterans were housed in at Walter Reed?

What about the recent Fort Bragg housing problems?

The amendment offered $500 million for Facilities Sustainment, Restoration and Modernization (FSRM).

$3.6 Billion to address the increasing price of fuel and other petroleum products. Keep in mind, a Bradley Fighting Vehicle gets just over 2 miles per gallon of JP-8 Diesel and an M1 Tank less than a mile a gallon!

$65.4 million for the Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program. The Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program helps members of the National Guard and Reserve transition from combat to civilian life. With the enormous increase in Veteran suicides, programs like this save lives.

$52 million to hire more than 200 additional contract managers to prevent waste, fraud and abuse in Department of Defense contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan.

$102 million for "Land Warrior" equipment to equip one "next to deploy'' brigade combat team with Land Warrior equipment sets.

$6 billion for the procurement of combat aircraft.

Overall, the recommendations total $96,622,127,000 and are structured to maximize support to our men and women in uniform. They meet important force protection, equipment and personnel needs, while fully funding the operational requirements to conduct the Global War on Terror.

The Amendment also contains some rather interesting clauses:


There is concern over the numerous instances of waste, fraud, and abuse that have occurred in Department of Defense contracting activities in support of contingency operations. The Department and the military services did not properly address the necessary personnel, training, and technology requirements over the years, but are now taking steps to improve their capabilities. This recommendation includes additional funds to further many of the initiatives and increased personnel requirements identified by the Department of Defense and outside reviews such as the Gansler report. The recommendation also calls for enhanced reporting requirements to ensure improved oversight over the Iraq and Afghanistan Security Forces Funds, and the Commander's Emergency Response Program. Finally, it provides funding for the Department of Defense Inspector General to improve its antiquated tracking system for the Criminal Investigation Service.

The recommendation includes $94,900,000 in the Operation and Maintenance, Defense-Wide; Procurement, Defense-Wide; Research, Development, Test and Evaluation, Defense-Wide; and the Defense Health Program appropriation accounts to address gaps identified by the President's Commission on Care for America's Returning Wounded Warriors. The funding will enable improvements in case management, data sharing, and the disability evaluation system (DES). Additionally, the funding will support the on-going DES Pilot program, information technology development, support for case management, and improvement of Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs data sharing gateways, and distribution of wounded warrior care and benefits informational handbooks.

The recommendation includes a total appropriation of $1,438,864,000 for the Defense Health Program. This funding will provide medical and dental services to active forces and mobilized Reserve Components, as they support Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, and their family members. The funding also provides for costs associated with the treatment of combat-related injuries.

The recommendation also provides $293,023,000 for facilities sustainment, restoration and modernization; $1,000,000 for the Center of Excellence for Eye Injuries; $70,000,000 for the Center for Neuroscience and Regenerative Medicine and $47,100,000, in various budget activities for disability evaluation system and case management.

The actual legislation found at is very interesting to read through.

Why did Bachmann and Kline refuse to give the needs of our Veterans, Soldiers, Sailors and Marines an "up or down" vote?

Why did they "play politics" with the needs of these brave men and women?

I poke fun at El Tinklenberg's "On the importance of a chicken" ad. He understands the importance of this legislation.

Steve Sarvi served in Iraq. He really understands the issues discussed above. As an Infantry Platoon Sergeant, he understands them well.

Kline and Bachmann went AWOL on our military servicemen and women and our Veterans this week.

They should be ashamed of themselves.

1 comment:

Charley Underwood said...

So Blueman, I hope you noticed that most of this $162 billion was actually not for vets, and not even for force protection of those currently stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Most of it was just for the continued occupation of those two countries, and the amount was the biggest since the invasion of Iraq in March of 2003.

Wouldn't it be wonderful to end the occupation. Not only would it end the continued unwarranted exposure of our troops in a war based on lies, but it would also free up billions in potential funding for those who have served there.

A great deal of the post WW II economic boom came from the relatively generous benefits (education, mortgages, and so on) that went to returning troops. Not only did it give a leg up to those who had served, it actually benefited the entire American society. Some would say the strength of our middle class actually sprung from those programs.

Peace groups all over the U.S. are pleased with this vote. Not because of disagreement with any of the points you make, but because it is the biggest vote so far to actually de-fund the Iraq occupation. Let's enjoy it, even if it lasts only a few weeks, and let's think about what it would be like to fund the programs you mention instead.