Calls on Senate Colleagues to Act Responsibly and Pass Funding for Troops on Front Lines
WASHINGTON- U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said today that unless Congress acts quickly to pass an emergency funding bill for our troops serving on the front lines in Iraq and Afghanistan, jobs and operations at military bases in Texas could soon be affected.
In a statement yesterday, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said, "there is a misperception that this department can continue funding our troops in the field for an indefinite period of time through accounting maneuvers, that we can shuffle money around the department. This is a serious misconception." Earlier today, the Senate again defeated an effort by some Senate Democrats to tie future troop funding with the start of an immediate withdrawal of troops from Iraq.
"The Secretary of Defense made clear this week that unless Congress acts in a swift and responsible manner to provide our troops on the front lines with the resources that they need, we will soon see a ripple effect throughout the U.S. military. This would include the furloughing of roughly 100,000 government employees, a termination of various military contracts, and reduced operations at U.S. military bases, including those in Texas. It is simply unconscionable that some in Congress would play political games at the expense of the lives and livelihoods of our soldiers and their families, particularly at a time when we are achieving real success in Iraq. It's time to do the right thing, the responsible thing, and pass this funding for our men and women in uniform - with no strings attached."
According to recent reports, both attacks and casualties in Iraq have decreased dramatically in recent months. Over 40 al-Qaeda leaders were killed or captured in October alone and roughly 70,000, mainly Sunni, fighters have turned against al-Qaeda and are now working with security to take back their towns and villages from terrorist elements.
Finally, at a Senate Armed Services hearing on Capitol Hill yesterday, Senator Cornyn questioned General George Casey, Chief of Staff for the United States Army, about proposals to set an immediate withdrawal date, and whether such a date is "helpful or unhelpful in terms of advancing the security position in Iraq." General Casey responded stating, "any type of firm withdrawal date would undermine our ability to conduct the operations there - in Iraq or Afghanistan....It has also been the consistent position of the chiefs that any statutory limitation to the mission of commander on the ground in an environment as complex as Iraq is, it would be extremely detrimental to the accomplishment of his mission."