Senate Democrats

Democrats Secure Funds for America’s Troops and Provide Continuing Disaster Relief Assistance

Yesterday, the Senate sent to the President a comprehensive appropriations bill that allocates $459 billion for the Department of Defense to strengthen our military and provide for our troops. Specifically, the measure provides over $11 billion for Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicles, $23.5 billion for military health care programs and a 3.5 percent pay raise for active duty military personnel that the Bush Administration opposed. In addition, the bill also provides continued disaster relief assistance for the Gulf Coast and $500 million for federal firefighting programs.

Senate Democrats provide vital funding for America’s troops:

The Department of Defense Conference Agreement Provides A Pay Raise for Active Duty Military Personnel. The measure provides for a 3.5 percent increase in a pay for military personnel beginning January 1, 2008, over the objections of the Bush administration which opposes the pay raise. Of note, bill also fully funds the basic housing allowance to ensure service members have no out-of-pocket living expenses. [Statement of Administration Policy, 10/2/07; CQ House Action Reports, 11/7/07]

The Agreement Provides Additional Funding for Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicles. The measure provided $11.6 billion in emergency funds for mine resistant vehicles to protect troops in Iraq from improvised explosive devices. [CQ House Action Reports, 11/7/07; CQ Today, 11/8/07]

The Agreement Provides Needed Funds for America’s Wounded Warriors. The agreement provides $70 million to fund initiatives under the ‘Dignified Treatment of Wounded Warrior Act.’ After learning about the serious deficiencies in the Veterans’ health care system, including the much publicized troubles at the Walter Reed facility, Democrats worked to ease the transition of wounded soldiers from the Pentagon’s health care system to the Department of Veterans Affairs. Among its many initiatives, the act provides for the research and treatment of traumatic brain injuries and stress disorders. [CQ House Action Reports, 11/7/07; S. 1606, 2007]

The Agreement Keeps America’s Soldiers From Having to Pay More for Health Care. The measure rejected a proposal by the Bush Administration to increase the out-of-pocket costs of what most retired members of the military would pay for their health care. President Bush unsuccessfully attempted for the past two years to increase the fees and deductible for eligible retirees under the age of 65 in the Tricare program, and to increase co-payment amounts for prescription drugs purchased outside of military clinics. Overall, the measure provides $23.5 billion for military health care programs, $918 million more than requested by the President. [CQ House Action Reports, 11/7/07]

Senate Democrats continue their commitment to the Gulf Coast ann provide needed funds for communities affected by wildfires:

The Agreement Funds the ‘Road Home Program’ to Help Displaced Louisiana Families Rebuild Their Lives. The measure provides $3 billion for the Housing and Urban Development Department’s Community Development Fund for grants to families participating in Louisiana’s Road Home Program. The program assists those displaced by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita by helping in the rebuilding of their homes. [CQ House Action Reports, 11/7/07; CQ Today, 11/8/07] 

The Agreement Provides Needed Funding to Help Combat Wildfires. The agreement appropriates $500 million for federal firefighting programs. $329 million was allocated for the Forest Service’s Wildland Fire Management account and $171 million was allocated for the Bureau of Land Management’s Wildland Fire Management account. [CQ Today, 11/8/07]