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Press Release - Smith Votes to Increase Funding for Military Personnel

Location: Washington, DC

Smith Votes to Increase Funding for Military Personnel

Washington, D.C. - Congressman Lamar Smith (TX-21) today voted for the "National Defense Authorization Act" (H.R.5122). The bill provides pay raises for military personnel and body armor for troops in combat. It also protects TRICARE beneficiaries from premium increases.

"America's military families sacrifice to protect our freedom," said Congressman Smith. "They deserve affordable health care and increased pay." Smith explained, "The funding in this bill is the least we can do to demonstrate our gratitude to our men and women in uniform."

The bill authorizes $462.8 billion in appropriations for the Department of Defense and national security programs at the Department of Energy. It includes the following:

A 2.2% pay raise for all members of the armed forces;

An increase in funding to provide troops in Iraq and Afghanistan with armored Humvees, interceptor body armor and improvised explosive device (IED) protection equipment;

$50 billion in supplemental funding to support the Global War on Terror's operational costs, personnel expenses and procurement of new equipment;

A provision that blocks the DOD's proposed TRICARE fee increase until October 2007; and

Prohibits an increase in co-payments for pharmaceuticals dispensed through the TRICARE retail pharmacy during fiscal year 2007.

"I will continue working to ensure our military personnel receive the health care they were promised," concluded Smith.

Upon approval by the Senate, the bill will go to the President's desk for his signature.

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