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Sam Johnson: U.S. Congressman, Third District of Texas

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Sam Johnson: “Dis-CHARGE!!!”

Sam Johnson Launches Discharge Petition to Fully Fund ALL Troops in Harm’s Way

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Washington, Mar 20, 2007 | McCall Avery ((202) 225-4201) | comments
At a news conference on Capitol Hill, today U.S. Congressman Sam Johnson (3rd Dist.-Texas) announced that he will try to force a vote in the House mandating that the Congress fully fund all troops in harm’s way with a discharge petition on his bill to support the armed forces, H.R. 511. Johnson’s measure presently has 176 co-sponsors; a discharge petition needs 218 signatures to create a vote in the House of Representatives.
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At a news conference on Capitol Hill, today U.S. Congressman Sam Johnson (3rd Dist.-Texas) announced that he will try to force a vote in the House mandating that the Congress fully fund all troops in harm’s way with a discharge petition on his bill to support the armed forces, H.R. 511.  Johnson’s measure presently has 176 co-sponsors; a discharge petition needs 218 signatures to create a vote in the House of Representatives.

 

“In Texas, we have a phrase for folks who talk a big game and fail to deliver. We call that ‘All sizzle and no steak.’  That’s sort of how I view the Members of the Congress who claim that they support men and women in uniform but fail to back permanent legislation that says Congress will fully fund all troops serving in harm’s way.  The actions don’t match the words.  I figure, if Members really support the brave folks in our armed forces, Members would make sure that our men and women on the ground have the bullets and tanks and helmets they need,” said Johnson. 

 

“The Democrats can’t hide behind their ‘slow-bleed’ strategy forever.  Let’s call a floor vote and make the entire Congress go on the record for or against our troops,” continued Johnson.

 

A 29-year Air Force veteran, Johnson served in the Korean and Vietnam Wars.  During Johnson’s 25th mission in Vietnam, he was shot down.  Held for nearly seven years as a Prisoner of War, Johnson spent more than half of that time in solitary confinement.  Johnson returned home from captivity passionately committed to learning from the mistakes of Vietnam.  “Americans don’t want to lose this war!  Pulling the plug is not an option,” he said.

 

The parliamentary procedural move for a discharge petition comes during the same week the U.S. House of Representatives will debate an emergency troop spending bill.  The measure dedicates funds to the troops as well as clearly non-emergency items like spinach growers, peanut storage and the shrimp industry, among other things.  (The Democrat bill dedicates:  $25 million for spinach (p. 112); $74 million for peanut storage costs (p. 115); and $120 million for the shrimp industry (p. 84).)

 

The Democrats insist that money devoted to the troops only will be allocated if arbitrary deadlines are met.   Otherwise the Democrat-controlled Congress will try to bring the troops home.  According to the U.S. Constitution, only the President of the United States can order troops to or from a war, while the Congress directs spending levels.

 

Many Republicans have called on House Democrats to eliminate the unrelated spending programs in the troop spending bill so Members of Congress will have an up-or-down vote on funding the troops in harm’s way.  Some Democrats, like those in the “Out of Iraq Caucus” want to cut off all funding right now.  Other Democrats want a timetable with assorted benchmarks.

 

“If you really want to bring the troops home safely and soon, give them money for bullets and bullet-proof vests so they can finish the mission and return home.  Just because it’s the politically popular idea of the moment, don’t hamstring our troops and make them fight with one arm tied behind their backs,” continued Johnson.

 

“I was in Vietnam when Congress pulled the plug on funding the troops.  It was a complete disaster and why we lost that war.  If we don’t learn from history, we only have ourselves to blame,” Johnson concluded.

 

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