Money for DC Celebration, None for Troops' Body Armor

My opponent, Sen. Burns, said Wednesday in Havre, MT that funding for adequate body armor for our troops on the front lines would "just bust the budget." Yet he still voted for a $20 million post-war party to commemorate "success" in Iraq and Afghanistan.

A new poll shows that American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan are vastly under-equipped and overextended. A VoteVets Action Fund poll of 450 returning Iraq and Afghanistan veterans showed that a clear majority feels the Army and Marines are overextended and nearly half said their equipment did not meet military standards. A recently released Pentagon study shows that better body armor could have saved 80 percent of the Marines in Iraq who died of wounds to the upper body.

According to the New York Times, tucked away in fine print in a military spending bill for this past year was $20 million to pay for a celebration in the nation's capital "for commemoration of success" in Iraq and Afghanistan. A paragraph written into spending legislation and approved by the Senate and House allows the $20 million to be rolled over into 2007 as the money was obviously not spent this year.

Sen. Burns has no plan for success in Iraq and is opposed to funding body armor for our troops, yet he still finds time and money for party planning. That's just not right, especially when our country is at war with no plan and no exit strategy, and when U.S. troops are being sent to the front lines without the armor and equipment they need to be safe and successful.

My opponent has repeatedly voted to deny American troops in battle more effective, safer equipment:

* Burns voted against $47 billion to repair equipment for U.S. troops

* Burns voted against $361 million to armor military vehicles.

* Burns voted against increased funding for protective gear, including body armor.

* Burns voted against $1 billion for National Guard Reserve equipment.

* Burns voted against prioritizing equipment repairs over tax breaks for millionaires.

Last week, I released my Plan to Strengthen the U.S. Military , which focuses on making the needed investments in equipment and manpower for American troops to be safe and successful. My plan will guarantee that soldiers have the protective gear, equipment, and training they need and are never sent to war without accurate intelligence and a strategy for success. Our troops deserve only the very best from their country after putting their lives on the line for America every day.

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