December 4, 2009
This week, the President revealed his strategy for the war in Afghanistan and the deployment of 30,000 additional U.S. troops to the region. I am encouraged that President Obama supports an increase in American troop levels in Afghanistan, in accordance with the requests of our commanders and to reinforce our troops on the ground.
What is even more important than the overall number committed, however, is that they be the right blend of troops with the appropriate training and skills to accomplish our mission so that we can place the future of Afghanistan back into the hands of the Afghan people. On a recent trip to Afghanistan, I had the opportunity to meet with our military commanders, as well as the troops in the field, and heard firsthand their desire to win and come home quickly. The President's decision is a step in the right direction.
Health Care Update
The Senate floor this week has been focused on debate on Senator Reid's (D-NV) health care reform bill. The Senate will be in session this weekend to vote on amendments.
In an attempt to protect Medicare from funding cuts, Senator McCain (R-AZ) offered an amendment on Monday that I was happy to support. The amendment would have sent the bill back to the Senate Finance Committee with instructions for them to remove the cuts to Medicare. As I have stated before, I agree we need health reform, but cutting Medicare by half a trillion dollars in order to create new government programs and obligations is not the answer. According to government actuaries, Medicare will become insolvent in just 8 years. Now is the time to strengthen Medicare's financial footing, not undermine it further. Unfortunately, Senator McCain's amendment failed to gain enough votes to succeed, and the Medicare cuts remain in the Reid bill. I will continue to work to ensure this bill does not become law, and will work with my colleagues to enact meaningful alternative solutions that actually lower health care costs and protect taxpayers.
Holiday Care Packages
The Holiday season can be an especially difficult time for our nation's servicemen and women who are stationed overseas away from their families. If you are interested in sending mail or care packages to our troops abroad this holiday season, please visit the websites below for more information.
USO Care Package program: http://aiss.enews.senate.gov/t/87235/4697766/2449/0/
America Supports You: http://aiss.enews.senate.gov/t/87235/4697766/2450/0/
Support Our Troops: http://aiss.enews.senate.gov/t/87235/4697766/2451/0/