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November, 2003

Woolsey: We Must Do The Right Thing For Our Troops

Lynn Woolsey votes no on 87 billion, and yes on increasing

health benefitsfor the troops.

WASHINGTON, DC-Rep. Lynn Woolsey today joined her Democratic colleagues on Capitol Hill to protest the President's request for an additional $87 billion to fight the war in Iraq. The following are Rep. Woolsey's words as prepared for the press conference:

"I want to talk today about the brave men and women who are fighting in Iraq at this very moment; the hundreds who have lost their lives; and the thousands who have been wounded.

"Despite the fact that Congress appropriated $310 million for protective body armor in April, nearly one-third of the 130,000 US troops in Iraq still have not been issued vests that are strong enough to stop bullets from assault rifles. Nor have most of our troops been issued CamelBak hydration systems to provide the much needed fluids to protect against the scorching desert.

"Many families have resorted to sending protective bulletproof vests and CamelBak hydration systems to their sons and daughters stationed in Iraq. No family should be paying extra to help keep their loved ones safe; the federal government has this responsibility. After all, who sent these young people to war in the first place?

"In August of this year, I stayed in Bethesda-Naval Hospital where I visited with some of the wounded men and women and their families who will never again experience the world in the same way as a result of this war.

"We don't talk about the impact this war-any war-has on the wounded and their loved ones. I met with individuals who had lost limbs-their sight-their hearing-parts of their beautiful faces. And, we are not providing the best equipment available! We must do the right thing for our troops and give them the support they deserve, in the way they deserve it.

"Now is the time to make permanent the increases to the imminent danger pay and family separation allowance, which Congress approved for our soldiers only through next year.

"We must make the commitment to our troops, right now, that we will take care of them after this war is over. That means providing full concurrent receipt for all veterans. And it means not denying, but treating, the illnesses they will face ten, twenty, and thirty years down the road.

"It's simple, really. If we are willing to spend another $65 billion to keep our troops in danger, then we must care enough to bring them home safely and soon, and support them after the war.

"Since I see no real commitment to doing this from the Administration, and I see no real reason for being in Iraq in the first place, I will be voting no."

 

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