PROVIDING THE FUNDS FOR OUR NATIONAL SECURITY
While we are clearly facing serious challenges in Iraq, much has been accomplished. Our goal is not to maintain an occupation in Iraq, but to ensure the country is stable enough to take care of itself and the fact of the matter is that we are not there yet. Stability in the Middle East is imperative to our national security. Long-term instability over decades in this region has created a haven for terrorists and a breeding ground for radical extremists to advance their terrorist agenda. Pulling out of Iraq would put our nation and the rest of the world at further risk of spreading terrorism and this is not acceptable. Last week, the Congress passed and the President signed into law defense appropriations to continue to fund our military and intelligence operations here at home and abroad.
This legislation will better help to ensure that our troops have the tools they need to fight the war on terror. There is no doubt about it: the men and women of our armed forces have a tough job. Their job sometimes takes them far from home, separates them from loved ones, and puts them in dangerous situations. These brave men and women, through their service to our country, allow us to continue to enjoy the freedoms our nation was founded on.
We need to do all we can to ensure that our troops are equipped with the tools they need to do their job both on the battlefield and here at home. The defense appropriations bill includes $1.9 billion to improve countermeasures to protect our troops on the ground against improvised explosive devises (IEDs), as well as almost $23 billion to ensure that troops are fully equipped with force protection, such as body armor, and $1.542 billion for the Chemical and Biological Defense Program.
In order to be able to serve our country, our military needs to be able to provide for themselves and their families. This legislation addresses this by providing a much deserved pay raise to our servicemen and women and an increased investment in military health care.
The war on terror is an international effort to ensure that terrorists and their radical ideologies are snuffed out. The U.S. is committed to this effort for the safety of all Americans. We owe our dedicated servicemen and women access to the best training and equipment possible. I will continue to work to ensure that our armed forces remain the most effective and best equipped in the world and that our military personnel receive the level of compensation they deserve.