E-Newsletter for October 17, 2003
Capitol Hill has seen an enormous amount of productive debate this week – both the House and the Senate have accomplished a great deal. We have tackled some crucial issues this week on the House floor - issues that are necessary and pressing. Today, the House passed the Supplemental Appropriations bill, which will go directly to military operations, relief, and construction in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Senate passed the bill this evening. When I was in Iraq, I learned our soldiers have many needs. We owe it to our men and women to get them what they deserve. That’s why I came back believing the most timely way to aid our troops is to see this bill enacted into law. This could be signed and completed by the President’s signature within the next two weeks. More than seventy percent of the President’s $87 billion request will give this immediate relief that our servicemen and servicewomen deserve. The bill will dramatically increase funding items like bulletproof vests and, in general, improve our soldiers’ quality of life. Our troops are also in need of better access to water supply, which is why the bill includes a provision for state-of-the-art water systems to be installed near them. This funding will give almost 10,000 soldiers some much-needed rest with reinforcements. The Supplemental will fully fund enhanced hazard pay and family separation allowances. Further, the bill pays for the travel of family members of military personnel who are ill or injured while serving their country. The remaining portion of the President’s request, $18.6 billion, will continue the progress we have already made in Iraq and Afghanistan. The recent series of violence in Baghdad has proven that border security measures must be tightened, and the bill will address this problem. The funds will also ensure that the countries’ power grids are reliable, water resources are fully-functioning, and sanitation facilities are just that - sanitary. Lastly, the bill will speed the law enforcement transition by continuing to recruit and train Iraqis to administer civil justice. What did the House do this Week? The House spent most of its time debating the Iraq supplemental request. We also passed [link begin] H.R. 1828, the Syria Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Restoration Act of 2003[link end]. This bill imposes sanctions on Syria because of its continued support of terrorist organizations. What’s on Tap for next Week? We have hit the time of year when it’s hard to predict what legislative calendars will dictate. Next week the House hopes to take the Energy Conference Report, which increases our energy security. We also expect to debate the Continuing Resolution (CR) that will keep the government fully-funded and running smoothly. As always, thanks for your interest and input.