Rep. Howard Berman today joined a majority in the House of Representatives in voting to approve the U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans' Health and Iraq Accountability Act. The legislation provides our troops with the equipment they need, requires Iraqis to take responsibility for their own country, helps fight the war on terror, and establishes a responsible strategy for the redeployment of U.S. troops. The bill also refocuses the war on terror against Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and provides additional support for our veterans.
In addition to fully funding American troops, the bill approved by the House today requires Iraqis to take control of Iraq by meeting the key security, political and economic benchmarks established by the President in his January 10 address to the nation. Failure to meet these benchmarks will mean the beginning of U.S. redeployment from Iraq and will restrict economic aid to the Iraqis.
The legislation also includes additional support for American troops and veterans' including $1.7 billion more for military health care, $1.7 billion more for veterans' health care, $2.5 billion more for improving the readiness of our stateside troops, and $1.4 billion more for military housing allowances.
The U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans' Health and Iraq Accountability Act enjoyed widespread support from a variety of individuals and organizations including six retired military Generals and a number of retired military officers, former NATO Supreme Allied Commander General Wesley Clark, Iraq Study Group Co-Chairman Lee Hamilton, Moveon.org, former National Security Advisory Zbigniew Brzezinski and the Paralyzed Veterans of America.