McMorris Votes to Enhance Benefits and Provide New Equipment for Troops in Defense Authorization Bill

(Washington, D.C.)  Congresswoman Cathy McMorris (WA-05) today voted for H.R. 5122, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2007, which enhances benefits for troops and provides new equipment and protection for our military. McMorris, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, also secured funding for local defense projects at Isothermal Systems Research (ISR) and Trident Systems.

“One of my top priorities is to keep our nation and communities safe,” said McMorris. “The bill demonstrates unwavering support of our men and women who are serving our country in the military. The legislation includes funding to provide our troops with the most advanced technology and equipment in the field, and ensures they receive proper benefits when they return home. It is essential that we provide quality and affordable health care to our troops and I was pleased to see expansion of the TRICARE pharmacy plans, which serve reserve, active duty and retired service members.”

ISR secured funds to develop and test an advanced radar module cooling system that reduces per-unit costs. Trident Systems received funding for the Trident Soldier Training Instrumentation that allows for real time tracking of individual troops conducting training on military ranges and offers post-event reconstruction.

“I also applaud the Armed Services Committee for moving forward with the process of replacing the aging KC-135 fleet by allowing the conditional retirement of 29 E models, many of which have been grounded for safety reasons. The 92nd Air Refueling Wing recently delivered the one billionth gallon of fuel in Operation Iraqi Freedom and I will continue to support their mission by fighting for replacement tankers.”

Highlights of the annual defense authorization bill include:

  • An additional $50 billion in supplemental funding to support the war on terror’s operational costs, personnel expenses and procurement of new equipment.
  • Increased funding for force protection equipment in support of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, including up-armored Humvees, explosive protection kits and jammers, and new body armor to protect against lethal IEDs.
  • A 2.7% across-the-board pay raise for all members of the armed forces.
  • Blocks the Department of Defense’s proposed TRICARE Prime and TRICARE Standard fee increases and zeroes out co-pays for generic and formulary mail order prescriptions for military beneficiaries.
  • Adds $735 million to the Defense Health Program to restore the funding cut in anticipation of increased beneficiary cost shares.

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