WASHINGTON, March 16 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The National Commander of The American Legion Paul A. Morin voiced his organization's strong recommendation that Congress consider the President's FY 2007 Defense Emergency Supplemental Appropriations request, minus any additional amendments. Yesterday, the Appropriations Committee marked up and passed, as amended, the U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans' Health, and Iraq Accountability Act. The funding requested in this bill is now some $23 billion more than the President's initial Defense Emergency Supplemental Appropriations request. However, even more disturbing is the fact this proposed legislation contains specific provisions that attempt to direct the conduct of military operations in Iraq, a task The American Legion unalterably believes rests with the Commander-in-Chief and the military leadership. "This is an attempt to implement a congressional strategy by imposing timelines for the withdrawal of military personnel from combat zones through a "slow bleed" process by eventually reducing military funding," Morin said. "Rather than the President's and General Petraus' reinforcement policy that is making progress in securing Baghdad." The American Legion is supportive of many of the other provisions contained in the U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans' Health, and Iraq Accountability Act, but we strongly believe the President's initial request is not the vehicle for these provisions, especially the specific language that sets congressional deadlines and mandatory troops movements. The other emergency funding recommendations to the FY 2007 budget should be openly addressed in a subsequent appropriations package in a timely manner. "The men and women of the armed forces in the theater of operation are dependent on this emergency funding to sustain and achieve their military missions," Morin explained. "Members of Congress should not be armchair generals." Recognizing our history as a Nation, The American Legion supports the Commander in Chief, the commanders on the front lines, and the men and women serving in harms way. We entrust Congress to do the right thing in supporting our military men and women who are fighting to protect our values and way of life. "Thank God there was no mandated timetable after the Battle of the Bulge or Iwo Jima, Morin said. "Thank God, there was no mandated withdrawal or imposed exit strategy at Valley Forge or our Country would have lost the American Revolution." Absent the removal of the restrictive language designed to influence military operations, The American Legion calls on all Members to defeat the U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans' Health, and Iraq Accountability Act. Founded in 1919, the 2.7 million-member American Legion is the nation's preeminent service organization for veterans of the U.S. armed forces, including active duty, National Guard and Reserves, and their families. A powerful voice for veterans in Washington, The American Legion drafted the original GI Bill and was instrumental in establishing the agency that today is the Federal Department of Veterans Affairs. Media Contacts: Ramona Joyce, (202) 263-2982; Cell, 202-445-1161 or Joe March, (317) 630-1253; Cell 317-748-1926. This text and a high-resolution photo of Cmdr. Morin can be downloaded at http://www.legion.org.
SOURCE The American Legion