LoBiondo Votes to Protect Decision-Making of Military Leaders on the Ground in Iraq
Proud to fully support American troops, U.S. Congressman Frank A. LoBiondo (NJ-02) today voted against H.R. 1591, the Emergency Funding Bill for Iraq, which included provisions authored by the Democrat Majority that would remove command and control over military operations in Iraq from U.S. military leaders. LoBiondo, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, has continually spoken out against efforts to weaken troop morale and undermine the authority of military leaders on the ground.
"By moving forward with this legislation, which includes specific orders instructing our military leaders how to conduct operations in Iraq, the Democrat Majority is removing the chain of command and installing 535 Commanders in Chief and 535 Secretaries of Defense. While we all share the desire to bring our servicemen and women home safely, this is an irresponsible and reckless practice," said LoBiondo. "This Congress should be uniting in support behind our troops and allowing our military leaders on the ground to dictate the best course of strategy in Iraq."
"I believe it is appropriate for Congress to openly debate how much longer the U.S. military should engage in operations in Iraq. I welcome such a debate and believe the American people have clearly called for such a discussion. However, holding hostage the critical funds our troops need to do their job undermines that debate," continued LoBiondo.
Furthermore, LoBiondo was deeply disappointed by the inclusion of extraneous spending in the military's emergency funding bill. Programs within the bill that are not related to military operations include: $400 million for rural counties and school districts in Oregon; $74 million for peanut storage in Georgia; $60 million for salmon farmers and an additional $5 million for fish breeding activities; and $40 million in non-emergency foreign aid to Liberia. In total, $21 billion in non-emergency spending was added to the bill.
"The legislation's sole intention should be to fund the necessary equipment and resources for our troops who are engaged in the Global War on Terror, not to direct taxpayer dollars to fish-breeding activities and peanut storage. The Congress should quickly approve a clean' emergency funding bill so that there is no disruption in providing the necessary equipment for our troops. Individual member priorities or political objectives should not be considered at the expense of our men and women in harms way," concluded LoBiondo.