Tester: Supporting troops not Bush’s New Year’s resolution

Senator says plan to veto Defense Authorization Bill will hurt troops, vets, Malmstrom

(BIG SANDY, Mont.) – Senator Jon Tester today released the following statement in response to news that President Bush plans to veto the Defense Authorization Act.  The important measure gives U.S. troops an across-the-board pay raise and funds veterans’ health care:

“Supporting our troops obviously isn’t a New Year’s resolution for President Bush.  All our troops and hundreds of thousands of vets are once again going to get the short end of the stick from their Commander in Chief.  The President ought to work with folks in Congress to improve the lives of veterans, our troops and their families instead of making another shortsighted and deeply disappointing decision.”


Congress passed the Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 1585) then sent it to President Bush earlier this month.  The measure, in part:

  • Gives a 3.5% across-the-board pay raise for military personnel (scheduled to go into effect January 1, 2008).
  • Establishes the Wounded Warrior Resource Center, which will serve as a single point of contact for service personnel, family members, and caregivers to report issues with facilities, obtain care, and receive benefits information.
  • Requires the U.S. Air Force to look into the feasibility of establishing an “active association” with the Montana Air National Guard before the military deactivates the last 10 Minuteman III missiles in Montana’s 564th Missile Squadron.
  • Sets aside $980 million to help improve depleted Guard and Reserve equipment stocks.


President Bush intends to veto the measure because the Iraqi government is concerned that one section of the bill could make Iraqi money in U.S. banks available for compensation to American victims of Saddam Hussein’s regime.