Today, the Senate began debate on the Department of Defense Appropriations bill. The measure provides service members a pay raise, increases funding for military health care and provides needed equipment funds for the National Guard and Reserve Forces. In addition, the measure funds the recently passed Wounded Warriors bill Senate Democrats fought for to help returning soldiers suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injuries.
“This is a good bill, one that is critical for our nation’s defense,” said Senator Daniel K. Inouye, Chairman of the Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee. “It meets the Senate’s priorities: ensuring readiness, protecting and caring for our forces, and acquiring the critical equipment that our servicemen and servicewomen need and deserve.”
Some Highlights of the Senate FY 2008 Defense Appropriations Measure:
- Senate Democrats Provide Military Personnel a Pay Raise Above the President’s Request. The Senate Department of Defense Appropriations bill provides a 3.5 percent raise in basic pay for all service members and civilian personnel. The appropriation was half a percentage point more than requested by the administration, which according to the press, “strongly opposes the higher raise.” [CQ Committee Coverage, 9/12/07]
- Senate Democrats Increase Funding for Military Health Care Programs. The Senate measure adds $948.9 million to the President’s budget request for military health care, bringing the total to $23.5 billion for the military’s health system. Of the $23.5 billion, $486 million was added to reverse planned cuts to military hospitals. Finally, the bill also provides $240 million for research on breast cancer, prostate cancer, and ovarian cancer. [CQ Committee Coverage, 9/12/07]
- Senate Democrats Provide Needed Funds for America’s Wounded Warriors. The measure provides $73 million to fund programs authorized in the Senate passed ‘Dignified Treatment of Wounded Warrior Act.’ The Wounded Warriors bill addresses the urgent medical needs of wounded service members, especially those suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injuries. [CQ Committee Coverage, 9/12/07; Senate Report 110-155 To accompany H.R. 3222, 9/14/07]
- Senate Democrats Increase Funds for National Guard Equipment. The Senate bill provides $1 billion to fill significant shortages in National Guard and Reserve equipment. Interestingly, the White House did not request this funding in their budget request. [CQ Committee Coverage, 9/12/07]
- Senate Defense Appropriations Measure Provides Needed Environmental Restoration Funding. The Senate FY 2008 Defense Appropriations measure provides $444.9 million for Army environmental restoration; $300.6 million for Navy environmental restoration; $458.4 million for Air Force environmental restoration; $12.8 million for defense-wide environmental restoration; and $295.3 million for environmental restoration in formerly used Defense sites. [CQ Committee Coverage, 9/12/07; Senate Report 110-155 To accompany H.R. 3222, 9/14/07]