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Begich Deplores Troop Funding Delay

Washington, DC- Democratic Senators Jack Reed and Mark Begich held a press conference this afternoon to discuss Senate Republican efforts to delay critical funding for our troops and aid to struggling families. In their rush to block historic health reform efforts in the Senate, Republicans have decided to put important funding for our troops at risk. The defense funding legislation will not only provide funding for our men and women in uniform, but will extend unemployment and health insurance benefits for unemployed workers. 

"The Defense Appropriations bill provides resources to our soldiers across the globe defending us," said Senator Reed. "It is interesting that so many Republicans who criticized the President for 'dithering' decided they weren't going to act to fund the troops.  I think that suggests something else afoot here.  But the welfare of our men and uniform is more important than legislative gamesmanship.  Secretary Gates made it clear that the lack of funding could interfere with critical operations.  Democrats took that to heart and hopefully that message will get through to Republicans."

Senator Begich: "Passing this bill is about providing our brave service men and women the vital equipment necessary to accomplish the job that we, as a country, have asked them to do. Secretary Gates has noted that delaying this bill produces uncertainty about the paychecks that our military deserve. It is apparent that we should not be playing DC games with this important legislation and that partisanship should be laid aside as quickly as possible. There is no reason we should leave our military without funding for a single day. We should be testing weapons' systems, not the pentagon's accountants."

A Republican attempt to filibuster the Defense Appropriations Act failed this morning by a vote of 63-33. Only three Republicans voted to move the important military funding legislation forward (Snowe, Collins, Hutchison).

Sen. Begich's comments: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OaBEU1JKKw0

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