Congressman Faleomavaega announced today that he is responding to an unsigned Letter to the Editor published by Samoa News on October 30, 2006. The letter is entitled “Setting the Record Straight” and falsely alleges that Faleomavaega gave credit to the Democrats for HR 5122, the FY 2007 Defense Authorization bill.
“To be clear, I gave credit to the Democrats for including three key provisions in the bill that they have fought to include for more than three years,” Faleomavaega said.
“One, the bill authorizes a 2.2 percent pay raise, effective January 1, 2007, and includes a Democratic proposal, led by Rep. John Spratt, to provide targeted pay raises for mid-grade and senior NCOs and warrant officers, effective April 1, 2007.”
“Two, the bill authorizes a $70 billion supplemental for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, including $23.7 billion to replace and reset equipment lost or damaged in operations. For three years, Democrats have been pushing Congress to increase our military readiness by replacing the military equipment being lost in the Iraqi war in order to rebuild a state-of-the-art military, and thanks to these efforts this provision was included.”
“Three, the bill also includes Democratic provisions offered by Rep. Gene Taylor to expand TRICARE services and to stop any increases in retail pharmaceutical prices under the TRICARE health care system for a period of one year.”
“In my September 29, 2006 release on the same issue, I made it very clear that the US House of Representatives supported this bill by a vote of 398 to 23 which means that both Democrats and Republicans came together in overwhelming show of support for our troops.”
“Finally, a word about how bills work in Congress. It is the job of the Chairman of the Committee on Armed Services to introduce the Defense Authorization bill and this is why my good friend, Congressman Duncan Hunter, is the primary sponsor of the bill. However, as with any authorization bill, both parties provide input and this is why I informed our people that the Democrats were successful in making sure crucial provisions were included for our military men and women in the FY2007 Defense Authorization bill.”
“These are the facts and have been the facts since I publicly announced these Democratic victories. These points aside, I want to once more thank our military men and women for their heroic service and I join with you in praying for their safe return,” Faleomavaega concluded.