(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Today U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.) voted for the $82 billion supplemental aid bill to fund military operations and reconstruction in Iraq and Afghanistan. The measure passed the full Senate 100-0.
Throughout the budget and supplemental appropriations process, Senator Murray fought to increase funding to care for our nation’s veterans. Murray introduced an amendment to the Supplemental bill to provide for our troops by providing them with health care services and benefits when they return home. Murray’s amendment failed on party-line votes.
Murray today released the following statement on passage of the Supplemental bill:
“As the daughter of a disabled World War II veteran and the representative for hundreds of thousands of Washington state veterans and military families, I support every dollar in this aid bill to help our troops protect themselves and complete their dangerous missions successfully.
In March I traveled to Iraq to meet with troops from Washington state. To a person, each of them was a dedicated professional who was putting duty above their personal well being. They need our support and they deserve every resource that our grateful nation can provide.
However, I remain very concerned that when all of these new veterans come home and need medical care they’re going to be pushed into a VA system that doesn’t have the medical staff, facilities or funding to care for them.
That is why I fought to include funding within the Supplemental to pay for a critical cost of war – the care of our nation’s veterans.
I am extremely disappointed that Republicans in the Senate have decided that funding for veterans’ healthcare is not an emergency and not a priority. By denying the crisis at the VA, they are ignoring our responsibility to fully provide for the men and women who are risking their lives for our freedom. Our veterans, our military and our future recruits deserve better.
I am also concerned about a controversial provision that was added to the Supplemental bill without any debate. The Real ID provision has ramifications for privacy, states’ rights and immigration policy. I am disappointed that it has been rammed through as an attachment to desperately needed funding for our troops.
I am already working with communities and officials across Washington state to help find a way to implement these new requirements. And I will continue to push the Administration to provide the funding necessary to make these changes without piling new burdens onto our already cash-strapped states.
It is unfortunate that at a time when we should be focusing on the needs of our troops and veterans, the majority party is using the Supplemental aid bill as a vehicle to legislate on subjects that have not received the debate and attention they deserve.
But at the end of the day, we cannot afford to fail in our missions abroad. With hundreds of thousands of troops sacrificing everyday in Iraq and Afghanistan, I support this Supplemental bill and I will continue my work to fight for their care as they return home.”