CONFERENCE REPORT ON H.R. 1268, EMERGENCY SUPPLEMENTAL APPROPRIATIONS ACT FOR DEFENSE, THE GLOBAL WAR ON TERROR, AND TSUNAMI RELIEF ACT, 2005 -- (House of Representatives - May 05, 2005)
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Mr. MATHESON. Mr. Speaker, passage of this legislation demonstrates our commitment to our brave men and women in uniform and acknowledges that they need resources in order to accomplish their mission and return home safely. It also offers support for the families when a loved one pays the ultimate sacrifice in the cause of fighting for freedom.
All along, I've been concerned about the lack of progress reports coming from the Pentagon. This bill finally requires the Pentagon to use real performance indicators to report to Congress with our progress in terms of security, economic, and Iraqi security force training goals.
The money that will go directly to help our troops is of course the most important part of this bill. It increases the military death gratuity to $100,000 and increases life insurance benefits to $400,000 for families of soldiers killed while on active duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.
We've all been hearing reports about the lack of adequate personal and vehicle armor. Congress has funded these critical protections in the past and we're doing so once again in this bill. I hope that this money will quickly be turned around to provide the needed add-on vehicle armor kits, new trucks, more night-vision equipment, and essential radio jammers to defeat the roadside bombs that are injuring and killing our troops almost every day.
Our troops should not be compromised. Resolving the current instability in the region is in the long-term best interests of all Americans-failure in Iraq would lead to irreparable consequences. Thousands of American troops have been in Iraq for more than 2 years. We have to take care of them and ensure that they can come back home as soon as possible.
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