FY04 Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act for Defense and for the Reconstruction of Iraq and Afghanistan
October 15, 2003
The Honorable C.W. "Bill" Young
House Appropriations Committee
H-218 The Capitol
Washington, DC 20515
Dear Chairman Young:
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world's largest business federation, representing more than three million businesses and organizations of every size, sector, and region, offers our support and urges the swift passage of H.R. 3289, the FY04 Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act for Defense and for the Reconstruction of Iraq and Afghanistan. This critical measure provides a total of $86.9 billion in funding for ongoing relief and reconstruction operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as providing our Nation's military with the necessary resources to continue their mission of peace in the Middle East.
This bill provides nearly $20 billion for Iraq relief and reconstruction initiatives including funding for security and law enforcement, public safety and civil service infrastructure, oil infrastructure and resource procurement, road and bridge construction, and for extensive private sector development. It is equally important that these funds are made available to this fledgling democracy without strings attached. Please oppose amendments that would make all, or part of the reconstruction funds "loans" to the new Iraqi government. This approach may do more harm over the long run by seriously damaging our credibility in the Middle East, and place an unreasonable burden on the new Iraqi government.
Our Nation's military has been tried and tested unlike any other time in our Nation's history. This bill provides $17.1 billion for military personnel, including items for force protection, quality of life, and hazard pay and family support. $39.9 billion is included for operation and maintenance accounts, and $6.2 billion for procurement of strategically significant equipment that has either been destroyed or needs to be replaced. We have asked our young men and women in the military to do more – with less. It is time to replenish those accounts and honor those commitments as quickly as possible. H.R. 3289 provides a total of $64.7 billion for our Nation's immediate national defense and military needs.
The U.S. Chamber strongly supports swift passage of this measure to send a clear signal to the citizens of Iraq and Afghanistan that the United States supports their pursuit to end tyranny, to promote freedom, and to initiate a representative government. In addition these funds will provide our Nation's military forces the proper resources that they need to remain vigilant and to promote stability in the region. Because of the importance of this issue to America's businesses, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce may consider using votes on H.R. 3289, the FY04 Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act for Defense and for the Reconstruction of Iraq and Afghanistan, in our annual "How They Voted" 2003 ratings.
R. Bruce Josten
Executive Vice President, Government Affairs
U.S. Chamber of Commerce
cc: U.S. House of Representatives