Statement of Senator Barack Obama on the Senate's Passage of the Defense Authorization Bill
U.S. Senator Barack Obama today released the following statement on the Senate's passage of the Defense Authorization Bill (S.3001):
"The Senate's passage of this legislation today will ensure our nation's service members and veterans have access to the health care and support they need whether in combat or at home. This legislation also makes important investments in our national defense, including providing an across-the-board pay raise for all uniformed service personnel.
"However, I am disappointed that Senate Republicans blocked key bipartisan measures, particularly provisions that I offered last year in the Iran Sanctions Enabling Act, which would have allowed state and local governments and private fund managers to divest from companies that support Iran's energy sector. This would have helped reduce the revenue Iran uses to expand its nuclear program, sponsor terrorist groups like Hezbollah and Hamas, and threaten Israel.
"Republicans also blocked a measure I offered with Senators Tom Harkin and Chuck Hagel, which would have helped reduce the staggering increase in suicide rates among our active duty service members by establishing comprehensive suicide prevention programs throughout the military. Our brave men and women should expect nothing less than the best screening, medical care, rehabilitation, and counseling services.
"I commend Chairman Levin for his longtime leadership on behalf of our service members and veterans, and I will continue fighting to ensure these important bipartisan measures are passed.