(Washington) - The House Budget Committee rejected, on a party line vote, the Edwards “Support Our Troops” amendment to the proposed 2005 Budget Resolution, which would boost funding levels for military troops by $2.5 billion. The $2.5 Billion includes $86 million for family separation pay, $55 million for imminent danger pay, $14 million for Impact Aid education funding for military schoolchildren, $1 billion for Tri-Care military health coverage for reservists, $1 Billion for military housing programs, $50 million for military family assistance centers, and $350 million in targeted pay raises for senior enlisted officers to bring their pay closer to civilian pay levels.
The Support for Troops amendment would be paid for by slightly reducing tax cuts for those making $1 million or more a year, one-tenth of 1% of the total population.
“During a time of war, it is shameful to dishonor the sacrifice of our military men and women by refusing them much needed funds which would improve their quality of life,” said Edwards. “Budgets that turn their back on our military and veterans ignore the basic American value of shared sacrifice in a time of war. I am disappointed that when members of Congress could have taken a stand for better pay, housing and health care for our troops and their families, they went AWOL.”
Next week when the committee resumes debate on the 2005 budget resolution, Edwards will offer amendments to increase the Veterans Budget by $1.5 billion, bringing it to the level needed to maintain current services and fund improvements to the survivor benefit plan for widowed military spouses so their payments are not cut when they reach age 62 by adding $500 million.
The 2005 Budget Resolution is expected to come before the full House in two weeks. The Senate continues working on its version of the Budget Resolution.
Chet Edwards is serving his seventh term in the U.S. House of Representatives. He is one of only six House members serving on both the House Budget and Appropriations Committees, the Energy and Water Subcommittee, and is the Ranking Member of the Military Construction Appropriations Subcommittee.