After months of advocacy on behalf of soldiers footing the bill for protective gear and equipment, Senator Patty Murray today proudly supported Senate passage of an amendment directing the Secretary of Defense to provide reimbursement to soldiers who faced this unfortunate hardship. It's been reported that soldiers and their families have spent upwards of $1,000 on this essential, life-saving equipment.
Murray was a co-sponsor of the amendment, which Senator Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) offered as part of the Senate's debate on the Department of Defense Authorization bill. It passed by an overwhelming 91-0 vote.
"Our soldiers in Iraq have been fighting without the body armor they need for months. I'm glad the full Senate today agreed that these soldiers should not bear economic consequences due to the Administration's failure to plan and outfit our soldiers properly," Murray said.
Last week, the Army's supply commander said that all American troops in Iraq were finally equipped with bullet-resistant vests, after a shortage that led many soldiers to pay for costly body armor themselves. Murray first raised the issue in February to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld as the 81st Armor Brigade at Fort Lewis prepared to deploy, and she continued to raise concerns for months after receiving inadequate responses from the Army.
"Today, the Army says our soldiers finally have the protection they need, and I'm glad that the Senate voted today to force this Administration to meet the obligation to properly outfit and fund our soldiers working so hard to protect our country," Murray said.
Last October, Murray raised the issue on the senate floor by reading a letter from a young soldier’s family.