Rep. Baca Backs Plan to Strengthen Military, Support Our Troops
Congressman Joe Baca (D-Rialto) today joined an overwhelming bipartisan majority in the House of Representatives and voted to approve a plan to strengthen our military, support our troops and improve military readiness. The Conference Report for HR. 1585, the Defense Authorization Bill, was approved by a vote of 370 - 49 and is expected to be approved by the Senate and signed into law.
"The American military is the greatest force in the world. I am proud to support this responsible legislation, which makes our armed forces stronger and our nation more secure," said Rep. Baca. "This bill protects our troops and their families and helps ensure that our fighting men and women have the resources they need and deserve."
The Defense Authorization Bill provides critical support for our servicemen and women and their families by providing a pay raise for troops that goes above the President's request. The bill also blocks proposed fee increases in the military health care program (TRICARE). Additionally, the bill includes the Wounded Warrior Act, which responds to the Walter Reed Army Medical Center scandal by improving the care of injured soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.
In addition, the Defense Authorization Bill authorizes funds for new military resources such as:
- Additional Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicles (MRAPs);
- More armored Humvees and body armor; and,
- New technology to stop Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) that have proven to be a threat to American troops in Iraq.
"Many brave troops from the Inland Empire, and throughout the nation, risk their lives everyday to keep us safe," added Rep. Baca. "They deserve the best equipment on the ground and the best medical care when they come home."
The Defense Authorization bill also takes vital steps to remedy the Army readiness crisis in America. Army readiness has dropped to unprecedented levels, and Army National Guard units have, on average, only 40 percent of their required equipment. The measure passed in the House today helps restore our nation's military readiness by creating a Strategic Readiness Fund to address equipment shortfalls, and authorizes new resources to provide the National Guard and Reserve the supplies they need.
"As an Army Veteran myself, I understand the hardships our military men and women must often endure to protect America," concluded Rep. Baca. "Every American should take pride in the patriotism and courage of our nation's military. This authorization bill provides our troops the support and care they need to do their jobs, both at home and abroad."