- Contact Your Senator Immediately
We need to act on this today call your congressman TODAY!! - posted by ddncm on 6/20/2006
June 19, 2006 Senate continues authorization bill debate By Rick Maze Times staff writer The count is 28 amendments down and at least 114 to go as the Senate enters its second week of debate on the 2007 defense authorization bill. There are some heady issues to be resolved, including a Democratic amendment to set up a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq, a bipartisan plan to improve retired pay for reservists and a Republican initiative to stop making service members in a war zone pay for GI Bill benefits. Also coming is debate about whether the Defense Department owes any special benefits to Marines and their family members who were assigned to Camp Lejeune, N.C., from 1980 to 1985, a period when high levels of toxic substances were found in contaminated wells. Sen. Elizabeth Dole, R-N.C., is sponsoring an amendment that would provide veterans’ health care benefits to children whose mothers were exposed while pregnant to the water contaminated with a solvent used for industrial degreasing. The amendment also requires notification of anyone who might have been exposed about the potential danger, and requires a National Academy of Sciences study of possible prenatal, childhood and adult exposure. “For the last 20 yeas, the calls for assistance from those affected by this contamination have gone unanswered, said Rep. James M. Jeffords, I-Vermont, a supporter of the Dole amendment. “Camp Lejeune is the site of one of the largest drinking water catastrophes in our nation’s history,” Jeffords said. Passage of the amendment is not a sure thing. The Bush administration opposes extending veterans’ health care veterans to nonveterans, even though there is a potential service-connected link to their health care problems, and does not want to send notices to hundreds of thousands of people about problems without knowing if there really is a link to the well water. The last contaminated well was closed in 1985. Senate leaders are hoping for a quick finish so there is no repeat of last year’s legislative fiasco when work on the annual defense bill stretched over four months and involved more than 300 amendments. It is not clear if the Senate can finish work this week, but the schedule for floor debate is arranged to force completion by the end of next week because Congress plans a weeklong recess for the Fourth of July. The House passed its version of the bill in early May and is waiting on the Senate to catch up so negotiations can begin on a final bill.
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* RE: We need to act on this today call your congressman TODAY!! - posted by dave11258 on 6/20/2006