Showing posts with label Senator Russ Feingold. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Senator Russ Feingold. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 28, 2009



Feingold Amendments to Defense Authorization Bill, Passed By the Senate, Help Service Members During Their Transition to Civilian Life and Ensure Forces are Prepared to Help Communities in the Event of a Catastrophe

Monday, July 27, 2009

Wounded Warrior Transition Assistance Act,

Washington, D.C. – Late last week, the U.S. Senate passed a Defense authorization bill that included two amendments authored by Senator Russ Feingold to help troops transitioning to civilian life and to ensure forces here at home are better prepared to respond to emergencies. Feingold’s first amendment, offered along with Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and based on their bipartisan Wounded Warrior Transition Assistance Act, will help ensure wounded service members of the Guard and Reserves are not discharged before their injuries are treated and evaluated. Many wounded service members have been discharged prematurely and this has compromised their recovery and imposed additional hardships upon them and their families. The legislation was introduced after a young soldier from Wisconsin came to Feingold in need of assistance after being discharged before his injuries were evaluated.

“I am pleased the Senate recognized the need to help our brave men and women in uniform transition back to civilian life,” Feingold said. “Hearing the story of a young soldier from Wisconsin who fell through the cracks after serving his country was both heart-breaking and infuriating. Allowing the men and women who selflessly serve our country to be left behind is unacceptable. With passage of this amendment, we can help ensure our service members are not faced with financial hardships that can compound the already difficult transition back to their lives at home.”

Feingold and Murkowski’s legislation has broad support among military and veteran service organizations and is endorsed by Disabled American Veterans, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, Military Officers Association of America, the National Guard Association of the United States, and the Enlisted Association of the National Guard of the United States. The cost of the legislation is fully offset so as not to increase the federal deficit.

The defense bill also included an amendment by Feingold to help ensure communities across the nation are protected in the event of a catastrophe. Feingold’s amendment seeks to ensure the Department of Defense adequately funds forces needed to deal with the consequences of a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear or high-yield explosive event. Last year, the Commission on the National Guard and Reserves concluded that Department of Defense’s (DOD) failure to establish these forces in the wake of 9/11 had left an "appalling gap" in our defenses. DOD is working on establishing the needed forces but has historically failed to provide needed personnel and adequate funding. Feingold’s amendment would increase transparency over defense spending to help Congress ensure these vital units receive the resources they need.

“The Department of Defense must no longer drag its feet in committing resources to these forces, which would be absolutely critical in the event of a catastrophic incident,” Feingold said. “This amendment creates the transparency in the defense budget necessary to ensure these forces are funded and able to respond to emergencies.”

Feingold has consistently worked to ensure domestic readiness for a terrorist attack. Feingold is the author of a law requiring each state and U.S. territory be equipped with at least one WMD-Civil Support Team, National Guard units that would provide the initial response to a chemical, biological or nuclear disaster. These teams are now up and running in every state in the union.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Congress turns up heat on burn pits

Congress turns up heat on burn pits

By Kelly Kennedy - Staff writer
Posted : Wednesday Jul 15, 2009 13:33:14 EDT

Two lawmakers have called upon the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress, to determine if open-air burn pits for waste disposal in Iraq and Afghanistan are exposing troops to harm, as well as if there are any alternatives.

“Preliminary reports have indicated that fumes from these burn pits produce a considerable amount of contaminants that may cause short- and long-term harm to our service members serving in proximity to these operations,” wrote Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., and Rep. Bob Filner, D-Calif., in a letter dated July 9.

And on Tuesday, Feingold and Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., proposed an amendment to the 2010 defense authorization bill that would “prohibit the disposal of covered waste in an open-air burn pit during a contingency operation lasting longer than one year” and would direct the secretary of defense to submit a report about what is burned in the pits and a plan for alternative options. The House has already passed a similar amendment in its version of the defense policy bill.
read more here
Congress turns up heat on burn pits

Monday, April 28, 2008

Service-related stress builds for veterans

Scott Adler, 36, of Brillion, is a veteran of Operation Desert Storm who is being treated for post-traumatic stress disorder. A nationwide survey of 1,965 service members by the Rand Corp. found nearly 20 percent of those returning from war report symptoms of PTSD, but only about 50 percent seek treatment. Post-Crescent photo by Patrick Ferron

Service-related stress builds for veterans
Survey: Growing number of troops reports symptoms
By Steve Wideman • Post-Crescent staff writer • April 28, 2008

BRILLION — Scott Adler's face grew tense and his gaze distracted as his cell phone's ring tone pierced the otherwise quiet atmosphere of his living room.

Adler deliberately ignored the ringing as he talked about his experience as a military police officer in the Army.

The tenseness disappeared when the ringing stopped. A message left no doubt the caller was trying to reach a church, not Adler.

"It's a wrong number," Adler said as he smiled for the first time since telling of a July 2001 telephone call that ended with his friend and fellow military police officer committing suicide with a gunshot wound to the head.

The suicides of three fellow officers in 18 months contributed to Adler joining a growing number of military personnel, including National Guard and Reserve members, being diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

A nationwide survey of 1,965 service members by the Rand Corp. found nearly 20 percent of those returning from war, or about 300,000 soldiers, report symptoms of PTSD, but only about 50 percent seek treatment.

Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., joined two other Democratic senators last week in introducing legislation calling on the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to track how many veterans commit suicide each year.

The legislation request came after the VA disclosed that 12,000 veterans attempt suicide annually while an average of 18 war veterans kill themselves each day.

That's no surprise to Adler, 36, who served two tours of active duty, from 1990 to 1995 — when he deployed for Operation Desert Storm — and again from 2000 to 2003. Between those tours Adler served with the Wisconsin Army National Guard.

Adler was discharged in 2003 for medical reasons related to a PTSD diagnosis.
click post title for more