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Bush: Troops Need Funds, Resources, Equipment to do Their Jobs

By Melinda L. Larson
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 7, 2007 – One of our greatest blessings as Americans is that we have brave citizens who step forward to defend us, President Bush said during his weekly radio address today.

“Every man or woman who wears our nation’s uniform is a volunteer, a patriot who has made the noble decision to serve a cause larger than self,” Bush said the day before Easter. “This weekend, many of our service men and women are celebrating the holidays far from home.”

Noting that men and women in uniform deserve the gratitude of every American, Bush stressed military members need the funds, resources, and equipment to do their jobs. An emergency war spending bill will provide the funds troops urgently need, he said.

Bush submitted a defense budget request Feb. 5 that includes a $93.4 billion emergency supplemental measure to cover the cost of operations in the war on terror for fiscal year 2007. Congress subsequently added several additional spending measures to the bill.

“Yet for our men and women in uniform, this emergency war spending bill is not a political statement it is a source of critical funding that has a direct impact on their daily lives,” Bush said.

Bush said Marine Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, recently testified before Congress and warned the military will be forced to make cuts in other areas if troops on the front lines are not funded.

“The Army will be forced to consider slowing or even freezing funding for depots where pivotal equipment is repaired, delaying or curtailing the training of some active duty forces, and delaying the formation of new brigade combat teams,” Bush said.

Noting that a delay in funding could mean a delay in troops coming home, Bush called it “unacceptable.”

“The bottom line is that Congress’s failure to fund our troops will mean that some of our military families could wait longer for their loved ones to return from the front lines. And others could see their loved ones headed back to war sooner than they need to,” Bush said. “That is unacceptable to me, and I believe it is unacceptable to the American people.”

Bush added that he will veto a bill that imposes restrictions on military commanders, sets an arbitrary date for withdrawal from Iraq, and funds domestic spending that has nothing to do with the war. Congress needs to work on a bill that gives troops the funds they need, without strings and without further delay, he said.

“We have our differences in Washington, D.C., but our troops should not be caught in the middle. All who serve in elected office have a solemn responsibility to provide for our men and women in uniform. We need to put partisan politics aside, and do our duty to those who defend us,” Bush concluded.

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