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National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2005

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC


NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT FOR FISCAL YEAR 2005-CONTINUED

Mr. PRYOR. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for the quorum call be rescinded.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

Mr. PRYOR. Mr. President, I rise to speak about amendment No. 3264, which I have offered. It accomplishes three important goals. First, it recognizes and honors the dedication and sacrifice of American military personnel killed and injured in combat and the heroic efforts of our medical teams through a sense of the Senate.

Secondly, it eases the stress of families who are attempting to follow the whereabouts of loved ones injured in combat by requiring the Secretary of Defense to establish a tracking system for wounded personnel.

Third, it authorizes $10 million to modernize medical combat equipment to support our medics in their fight to save lives.

Supporting my amendment tells the 5,138 military personnel who have been injured in Iraq that we care. It begins to address this harsh reality of war by providing the care soldiers and marines deserve and the resources combat medics need.

I have heard from distraught Arkansas families-I am sure many of my colleagues have heard from families in their States-who felt left in the dark after a loved one's injury because they were not given adequate details of their condition or whereabouts. Congress can alleviate that anxiety by establishing a tracking system to keep families better informed. We can also help save lives and reduce combat injuries by ensuring that our military medical teams have the equipment they need to provide critical frontline treatment. I cannot think of a better investment.

On June 14, 2004, I introduced S. 2516, the Service Act for Care and Relief Initiatives for Forces Injured in Combat Engagements Act of 2004, or, as we call it, SACRIFICE. The RECORD includes a full statement on the provisions of that bill. My amendment is almost identical to the SACRIFICE bill.

Currently, the SACRIFICE amendment has 11 cosponsors. Many Arkansans asked me about the partisan working environment in the Senate. I want to go on record stating that the SACRIFICE amendment has had bipartisan support from Senators SESSIONS, CHAMBLISS, GRAHAM of South Carolina, REED of Rhode Island, NELSON of Nebraska, NELSON of Florida, DOLE, CORNYN, COLLINS, CLINTON, and LINCOLN. The amendment also has the support of the Disabled American Veterans and the Veterans of Foreign Wars. I have been working with the cosponsors and the staff of the Senate Armed Services Committee to refine the language of the amendment.

I am deeply grateful for the support and assistance I have received from Members on both sides of the aisle. I want to specifically thank Rick DeBobes, Arun Seraphin, Gary Leeling, Judy Ansley, Dick Walsh, and Elaine McCusker for the many hours they have spent on this amendment and for their very precious and wise counsel.

I understand there may be an opportunity for the managers to accept my amendment. I appreciate that consideration. I am also hopeful that we can work out an agreement. I thank Chairman Warner and Senator Levin for their consideration of this very important issue. It is an honor for me, as a freshman Senator in my first Congress, to serve under the leadership of Chairman Warner and Senator LEVIN. Their aid in helping me address a problem my constituents are experiencing firsthand with such productive interaction amongst both parties is truly a testament to the dedication of the members and the staff of the Armed Services Committee. We owe that to their leadership, and I appreciate it very much.

I yield the floor.

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