Today, President Bush Visited Fort Irwin, California, And Discussed The Wars In Afghanistan And Iraq. The President honored the troops' service and thanked the troops and their families for their commitment and patriotism. Prior to his remarks, the President had lunch with military personnel and their families and viewed a training demonstration. In the afternoon, he met with the families of fallen soldiers.
Fort Irwin Is Home To The National Training Center. The Center is a U.S. Army training facility known for its excellent desert and counterinsurgency training, which helps our Nation's soldiers prepare for the challenges of the war in Iraq.
On February 5 (58 Days Ago), The President Sent Congress His Urgent Request For Funds To Support The Troops On The Ground In Iraq And Afghanistan, But Democrats Have Not Yet Sent The President A Bill He Can Sign. Defense Secretary Bob Gates and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Peter Pace have said that if Congress does not approve the emergency funding for our troops in April, our troops will begin to face significant disruptions.
Our Men And Women In Uniform Need These Emergency War Funds
Last Week, The Defense Department Notified Congress That In Order To Meet The Force Protection Needs Of The Marine Corps And The Army, It Is Borrowing Funds From Other Important Marine And Army Procurement Programs. This borrowing means using funding intended for medium tactical vehicle replacement, Humvees and Humvee equipment, the tactical communications modernization program, and upgrades for other vehicles.
This Reprogramming Of Funds Is Only Necessary Because Congress Has Failed To Act In A Timely Manner On The President's Emergency Funding Request. This underscores the need to get the President a bill he can sign that provides what the troops and military commanders need.
Chairman Of The Joint Chiefs Of Staff Gen.Peter Pace: After mid-April, "the Army has told us that they will have to begin curtailing some training here at home for Guard, Reserve, and for units, which means that the baseline for those units will be reduced as far as their capability, and when they're called, it will take them longer to be ready and could, over time, delay their availability to go back into combat." (Committee On Appropriations, Defense Subcommittee, U.S. House Of Representatives, Hearing, 3/29/07)
Army Chief Of Staff Gen. Peter J. Schoomaker, Chief Of Naval Operations Adm. Michael G. Mullen, Air Force Chief Of Staff Gen. T. Michael Moseley, And Commandant Of The Marine Corps Gen. James T. Conway: "Without approval of the supplemental funds in April, the Armed Services will be forced to take increasingly disruptive measures in order to sustain combat operations. The impacts on readiness and quality of life could be profound. … Reprogramming is a short-term, cost-inefficient solution that wastes our limited resources. Spending restrictions will delay and disrupt our follow-on forces as they prepare for war, possibly compromising future readiness and strategic agility." (Gen. Peter J. Schoomaker, Adm. Michael G. Mullen, Gen. T. Michael Moseley, and Gen. James T. Conway, Letter To House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey (D-WI), 4/2/07)
Army Chief Of Staff Gen. Peter J. Schoomaker And Acting Secretary Of The Army Pete Geren: "We are particularly concerned as Congress is set to recess until mid-April without enacting this essential legislation. Without approval of the supplemental funds in April, we will be forced to take increasingly draconian measures which will impact Army readiness and impose hardships on our soldiers and their families." (Gen. Peter J. Schoomaker and Pete Geren, Letter To Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, 3/28/07)
Defense Secretary Robert Gates: "This kind of disruption to key programs will have a genuinely adverse effect on the readiness of the Army and the quality of life for soldiers and their families. I urge the Congress to pass the supplemental as quickly as possible." (Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Press Briefing, Arlington, VA, 3/22/07)
Congress Should Send The President A Clean Bill That Funds The Troops
In January, President Bush Announced A New Strategy For Iraq. Implementing this strategy will require sustained action over many months, but we have already seen progress.
Just As This New Strategy Is Starting To Have An Impact, A Slim Majority In Congress Voted For A Timeline To Withdraw. House and Senate Democrats narrowly passed emergency war supplemental funding bills that:
Force a retreat from Iraq without regard to conditions on the ground, which would be disastrous for our national security.
Substitute the judgment of politicians in Congress for that of generals in Iraq, handcuffing our commanders.
Contain billions of dollars in non-emergency domestic spending that has nothing to do with winning the War on Terror.
The President Has Made Clear For Weeks If Either The House Or The Senate Version Of The Emergency War Spending Bill Comes To His Desk, He Will Veto It. If Congress fails to pass a bill to fund our troops, the American people will know who to hold responsible.