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Phone Calls for the Troops

Location: Washington, DC

PHONE CALLS FOR THE TROOPS! -- (Extensions of Remarks - May 16, 2005)

MONDAY, MAY 16, 2005

* Mr. FILNER. Mr. Speaker, we are all committed to ensuring that our troops have the support they need to succeed in their mission and maintain high morale.

* As part of this effort, we have taken important steps to ensure that the soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan can make free phone calls home to their loved ones. Last year, we passed a Defense Authorization bill that provided a $40 per month calling program to these soldiers. And our military hospitals have created adhoc programs, largely based on privately donated calling cards, to ensure that hospitalized troops can call home as well.

* In order to strengthen and expand these efforts, I have introduced the bipartisan ``Troops Phone Home Free Extension'' Act (H.R. 2366). This legislation would extend the calling program until the end of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. My bill would also extend the program to future contingency operations to ensure that our troops do not have to wait for the legislative process to catch up with their phone call needs. Finally, the ``Troops Phone Home Free Extension'' Act would extend the monthly calling card program to the wounded to ensure that the Federal government will provide the phone benefit if private donations are insufficient.

* I invite you join me in fighting to maintain the morale of our troops, support our military families and give our soldiers the benefits that they have earned through their sacrifice and courage. Please join me in co-sponsoring the ``Troops Phone Home Free Extension'' Act!

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