CARDIN REITERATES CALL FOR A NEW DIRECTION IN IRAQ; LAUDS SENATE FOR PASSING NEW GI BILL AND URGENT DOMESTIC NEEDS TO HELP AILING ECONOMY
Washington, DC - U.S. Senator Benjamin L. Cardin, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today praised his Senate colleagues for supporting amendments to help our economy and expand educational benefits for veterans through a new, 21 st Century GI Bill. But he expressed disappointment that his colleagues supported the continuation of the President's aimless policy in Iraq that has cost far too many lives and strained our resources.
"The American public is looking to Congress to act on behalf of the brave men and women of our U.S. Armed Forces. They are not looking for a shift in our Iraq policy - they want us to change course and start bringing our troops home now," said Senator Cardin. "After more than five years, 4,000 American lives lost, 30,000 wounded, and $600 billion spent, I believe that our military and the American public deserve a clear signal that their leaders are listening. We failed to do that today."
"I am proud that the Senate overwhelmingly voted to support the New GI Bill, which I co-sponsored. This is an important step forward in repaying the debt we owe to our veterans, including National Guard and Reserve, who, particularly since 9/11, have made such sacrifices for our country. Like its predecessor, a New GI Bill is also a wise investment. In addition to helping veterans adjust to civilian life, it allows our economy to fully benefit from their talent, leadership, and experience."
"The Senate today also voted to help ease the hurt Marylanders and many Americans are feeling from the current state of our economy. I laud the Senate for ignoring the President's veto threats and passing by a vote of 75-22 provisions that extend unemployment benefits by 13 weeks for all the nation's workers. Extending unemployment benefits helps families, but it will also help our economy.
"I am also pleased that we finally voted to extend a freeze on seven Medicaid rules issued by the Administration that would have affected access to services for Marylanders and Americans all around the country; increase energy assistance by $1 billion to low-income Americans facing skyrocketing fuel prices; and make critical investments in law enforcement as well as key infrastructure.
"Senator Mikulski and I worked together to ensure that the bill passed today contained $75 million in disaster assistance that could support Maryland's watermen during a dire time for their industry and our state's economy. These investments are essential for our region.
"The war in Iraq and America's economic woes at home are inextricably linked. For the sake of our nation, I will continue to urge the President to change course in Iraq now."
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