Pelosi Statement on House Passage of Defense Authorization Bill
Speaker Nancy Pelosi released the following statement today after the House passed the fiscal year 2009 Defense Authorization bill, which will provide the necessary resources to improve our military readiness and provide our service members in harm's way with the best gear and force protection possible. The bill passed by a vote of 392 to 39:
"Every day, we must honor our brave men and women in uniform for their patriotism, their service, and for the sacrifice they and their families are willing to make. In Congress, we must provide our troops with the tools they need to do their jobs, and the benefits that they have earned. With this legislation today, we are supporting our troops, improving our military readiness to keep the American people safe, and strengthening accountability to the taxpayer.
"This essential legislation includes a pay raise for our troops larger than that requested by the President, and prohibits fee increases for essential health services that our troops and their families need. For our troops bravely serving in harm's way, this legislation includes billions of dollars for additional Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles and to combat Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).
"In order to combat terrorism, this legislation includes increased focus on the war in Afghanistan. It also demands greater accountability in the war in Iraq, requiring the Iraqis to pay more of their fair share for the training and support of their Security Forces.
"With fundamental contracting reforms, this legislation helps ensure that the taxpayer dollar is put to the highest and best use.
"We are grateful to all those who wear our nation's uniform. Today, we express our gratitude by providing vital support to our troops and their families."