Owens Votes to Fund American Servicemen and Women

WASHINGTON – Today, Congressman Owens joined a bipartisan group of Members of Congress to pass H.R. 5136, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2011. The bill provides necessary resources to extend health care to soldiers, keep American troops safe in harm’s way, and ensures that our men and women in uniform are compensated with the adequate pay and benefits they deserve. H.R. 5136 passed the House Floor today by a vote of 229-186.

“Fort Drum is home to the most deployed battalion in the U.S. Army and it is critical to the continued success of our soldiers that we provide them with the tools they need to get the job done,” Owens said. “This bill will help us continue to execute successful missions in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

The National Defense Authorization Act contained two amendments sponsored by Owens. One amendment seeks to ensure that the Army is better prepared to make smart decisions about its battlefield network plans. Another measure aims to increase the maximum age for children eligible for medical care under the CHAMPVA(Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs) Program from the age of 23 to 26.

Congressman Ike Skelton praised Owens work on the bill as well as his efforts in the House Armed Services Committee. “Congressman Owens is a great addition to the Armed Services Committee, and he has worked tirelessly to make sure that Ft. Drum remains a strong and critical component of our national security,” said House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D-Mo.). “His commitment to taking care of the men and women of Ft. Drum and to strengthening our nation’s Army is unrivaled.”

H.R. 5136 supports our troops and military families, strengthens counterterrorism efforts, enhances missile defense, and improves the readiness of our armed forces. The bill provides a 1.9% pay raise for troops and expands TRICARE health coverage to include adult dependent children up to age 26. As America engages in two foreign wars, H.R. 5136 provides funding for projects in Afghanistan to allow commanders on the ground to immediately respond to military construction needs.