Matheson Supports Defense Bill to Strengthen Military, Boost Troop Pay
Congressman Jim Matheson has voted for a defense bill that restores military readiness, protects battlefield soldiers and denies funding for study and development of new nuclear weapons. The bipartisan bill -HR 5658passed the House late Thursday by a vote of 384-23.
"Our extraordinary men and women in uniform are the core of our national defense. I support whatever it takes to make sure they have the resources to perform their mission and to return home safely," said Matheson. "The measure also honors their sacrifice abroad by supporting their families here at home."
Matheson said the legislation protects the troops by authorizing $2.6 billion for additional mine-resistant vehicles, $947 million for additional Up-Armored Humvees and $783 million to buy enhanced personal body armor.
It provides a 3.9 percent pay raise for all service members and rejects the administration's plan to increase premiums and co-pays for the military and retirees who are enrolled in the TRICARE system.
Matheson said the bill does not include the administration's $33 million request to continue research into a new nuclear weapon known as the Reliable Replacement Warhead (RRW). Instead, it redirects $10 million requested for the program by the National Nuclear Administration (NNSA) to other existing nuclear weapon stockpile stewardship activities. The bill also redirects $23 million in RRW funds requested by the Navy for the same purpose. Matheson voted against an amendment seeking to restore $10 million in RRW funding. The amendment failed.
Matheson says Congress shouldn't go hastily down a path towards a new weapon that experts argue is not needed and could require the resumption of nuclear weapons testing in Nevada.
"A bipartisan group in Congress has said that spending money on a new nuclear weapon before the future of our country's nuclear defense program was thoroughly defined is premature," said Matheson.
Matheson also supported an amendment to require congressional authorization for any agreement obligating the U.S. military to defend Iraq