Walden Cosponsors Bipartisan Legislation Benefiting Military Troops, Veterans and Their Families
Saturday, April 30, 2005
Congressman to announce bills during visit to Ontario Armory with National Guard staff, relatives of deployed soldiers
WASHINGTON, DC - U.S. Congressman Greg Walden (R-OR) will announce today that he has become a cosponsor of two bipartisan bills benefiting our Armed Forces, Veterans and their families. Walden will make the announcement at the Ontario Armory, where he will meet today with family members of soldiers currently deployed on Active Duty and National Guard staff working at the facility.
"Supporting our men and women in uniform is one of our most significant responsibilities and as lawmakers we have a responsibility to ensure that they are getting the supplies and materials necessary to be as safe as possible while performing their difficult jobs," said Walden. "Having the opportunity today to talk with family members of some of Oregon's and Idaho's brave troops is a great way for me to further learn about what more we can do to support our troops and their families."
Recognizing how much our Armed Forces enjoy receiving some comforts from home, Walden has cosponsored the Mailing Support to Troops Act of 2005 (HR 923), which would authorize family members to send postal mail free of charge to members on active duty in Iraq or Afghanistan, or those hospitalized as a result of such service. On Wednesday, April 27, Walden participated in an "Operation Care Package" event on Capitol Hill put on by the USO. This event allowed Walden and other volunteers to stuff care packages with items such as playing cards, calling cards, snacks and toiletries for troops being deployed overseas. He has participated in similar events in the Second Congressional District and today in Ontario will distribute USO AT&T calling cards to troops' families so they can stay in close touch with their loved ones serving overseas.
Veterans returning from active duty service often face a difficult transition back into the work place, especially if they had to permanently leave their previous job when deployed. The Veterans' Employment Transition Support Act of 2005 (HR 1635), which Walden also cosponsored, calls for a tax credit for companies that hire military service personnel who served in a combat zone or hazardous duty area. Upon enactment, this legislation could assist military personnel like the 46 Oregon National Guard soldiers in the 1186th Military Police Company who returned to Oregon yesterday after serving the past year at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The unit consists of 21 soliders from the Milton-Freewater area and 25 soldiers from the Salem area.
"Support for our military extends beyond our duty to fully fund their efforts and keep them as safe as possible; it includes taking actions such as these. Cost shouldn't preclude a child from sending mail to a parent, or a spouse to their partner. Allowing those serving to stay connected to their family can help boost morale and ease the uncertainty of being apart. Additionally, helping them transition successfully when they return home shows our deep gratitude for and pride in their service," said Walden.