U. S. Troops Readiness, Veterans' Health, and Iraq Accountability Act, 2007

Floor Speech

By:  Joe Biden, Jr.
Date: March 29, 2007
Location: Washington, DC

U.S. TROOP READINESS, VETERANS' HEALTH, AND IRAQ ACCOUNTABILITY ACT, 2007 -- (Senate - March 29, 2007)

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Mr. BIDEN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the reading of the amendment be dispensed with.

The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. Without objection, it is so ordered.

The amendment is as follows:
(Purpose: To appropriate an additional $1,500,000,000 for Procurement, Marine Corps, to accelerate the procurement of an additional 2,500 Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles for the Armed Forces)

At the end of chapter 3 of title I, add the following:

SEC. 1316. ADDITIONAL AMOUNT FOR PROCUREMENT, MARINE CORPS, FOR ACCELERATION OF PROCUREMENT OF ADDITIONAL 2,500 MINE RESISTANT AMBUSH PROTECTED VEHICLES FOR THE ARMED FORCES.

(a) Additional Amount.--The amount appropriated by this chapter under the heading ``Procurement, Marine Corps'' is hereby increased by $1,500,000,000, with the amount of the increase to be available to the Marine Corps for the procurement of an additional 2,500 Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles for the regular and reserve components of the Armed Forces by not later than December 31, 2007.

(b) Supplement Not Supplant.--The amount available under subsection (a) for the procurement of vehicles described in that subsection is in addition to any other amounts available under this chapter for that purpose.

Mr. BIDEN. This amendment is very straightforward. This amendment moves up $1.5 billion into the supplemental from the 2008 budget. The effect will be, it will add an additional 2,500 MRAP vehicles into the field faster. These are the vehicles with the V-shaped hull. This increases the security of our troops inside these vehicles--who are now riding in humvees--three to four times.

What it will mean is it is an opportunity to provide 10,000 to 30,000 of our troops four times more protection than they now get riding around in the humvees when they are attacked by IEDs. That is tens of thousands of Americans who won't be severely injured or killed.

The Commandant of the Marine Corps and the Chief of Staff of the Army both have said they need this money moved up so they can get these additional vehicles into the field earlier. I cannot think of a better way to explain this amendment than using the words of the Commandant of the Marine Corps when I spoke to him yesterday.

He said: Senator, this is the highest moral imperative I have as a Commandant of the Marine Corps.

I hope we will move this money up. I hope we will pass this amendment. It literally, not figuratively, will save lives.

I yield the floor, and I ask for the yeas and nays.