# National Defense Authorization Act

The Time is Now: Stand Up to Republicans on Iraq

(Please welcome Senator Tom Harkin to Bleeding Heartland. Leave him some comments and let him know that you'll help him out. - promoted by Chris Woods)

As many in the progressive blogosphere are already  aware, the Senate has been debating the National Defense Authorization Act,  which will set military policy for the coming fiscal year.  My Democratic  colleagues and I – as well as a few but growing number of Republicans – are  determined to take this opportunity to demand fairer treatment of our troops and  force President Bush to listen to the will of the American people and change  course in the war in Iraq.

Yesterday, the first amendment to the defense bill was  authored by Senator Jim Webb of Virginia.  Senator Webb’s troop-protection  amendment would have required that active-duty troops receive as much time at  home – recuperating and retraining – as they spend in combat, while giving the  president the authority to waive these requirements if additional troops are  needed in an emergency.

I was proud to co-sponsor Senator Webb’s legislation  because I felt that it was time to bring the systematic abuse of our  re-deploying troops to an end. It is simply unacceptable that our troops are  being deprived of the time that they need to recover from combat, complete  additional training, and spend precious time with their families. Senator Webb’s  bill would have gone a long way toward restoring our military’s readiness by  giving our brave and courageous service men and women an established amount of  time between deployments to protect their mental and physical well-being while  providing some stability and predictability for their families.

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