Blackburn Hails Passage of Defense Supplemental
Victory for Troops and Their Families Will Keep America Safe Without Wasteful Spending or Tax Increases
Rep. Marsha Blackburn (TN-7) today hailed the passage of the Department of Defense supplemental appropriation bill. The compromise language will deliver the resources troops in harm's way urgently need without restricting their ability to pursue victory in Iraq and Afghanistan. The agreement comes after months of grandstanding that forced the Pentagon to plan for the real possibility of civilian layoffs and suspension of pay to our men and women in uniform.
"Passage of this funding is a victory for our troops, their families, and commanders in the field. It is a signal that Democrats have finally accepted the situation on the ground and embraced the progress our troops have achieved. I hope that this is the last time we have to fight to have a surrender mandate removed from funding for the troops."
Tennessee's 7th District is home to Ft. Campbell, one of the Army's largest posts and the 101st Airborne Division. Currently, the bulk of the 101st Airborne, as well as over 700 Tennessee National Guardsmen, are deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan. A June 9, 2008 memo from Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon England ominously directed the military services to plan for the exhaustion of DoD funds as a result of delayed supplemental funding. The memo stated "Military personnel will serve without pay until such time as appropriated funds are available to compensate them for this period of service Civilian employees [of DoD] not engaged in exempt activities will be furloughed, i.e., placed in a non-work, non-pay status."
"Politically motivated delays in defense funding ultimately harm national security. They inhibit the military's ability to reset the force and provide for troops and their families. When our military is already stressed by ongoing commitments, it is shameful that some in Congress, together with their anti-war comrades, regularly seek to aggravate this situation to further their outdated policy of retreat and surrender."
More on the DoD Supplemental Agreement:
* Provides Troop Funding for FY 2008-2009. The agreement ensures that our men and women in uniform will have the resources they need well into the next Administration, rejecting demands from Democrats to stop funding our troops who continue to make significant progress in Iraq and Afghanistan.
* Eliminates ALL War Restrictions. The agreement gets our troops the funding they need for success without any politically-motivated restrictions that the Democrat Majority pushed for in order to hamstring our commanders in the field.
* Includes NO Tax Increases. The agreement includes no tax increases of any kind sought by House Democrats.
* Provides New Resources for American Veterans. The agreement will help our veterans (or their families) get a better education after they return from Iraq and Afghanistan.
* Maintains Work Requirements for Unemployment Insurance. The agreement protects taxpayers by maintaining the 20-week work requirement in order for a worker to receive extended unemployment benefits. The agreement also limits the extension of benefits to 13 additional weeks, not the 26 weeks in the original Democratic bill.
* Cuts Wasteful Pork. The agreement cuts $8 billion in wasteful Washington spending added by Senate Democrats.
* Rejects Funding for Planned Parenthood. The agreement eliminates funding sought by Democrats for Planned Parenthood.
* Ensures SCHIP Serves Low-Income Children First. The agreement eliminates a Senate Democrat-authored provision designed to overturn Administration efforts to ensure that SCHIP serves the neediest children first.