New defense bill boosts MRAP funding

Oct. 2, 2007 at 12:42 PM
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WASHINGTON, Oct. 2 (UPI) -- The U.S. Senate passed a defense authorization bill Monday that included a boost in funding for Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles.

After nearly four weeks of debate the Senate passed the $648 billion bill, which includes a $23.6 billion provision for the Army to replace all of its up-armored Humvees in Iraq with MRAPs, according to a release by the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.

Officials say roadside bombs are responsible for up to 70 percent of casualties in Iraq and that MRAP vehicles are an effort to reduce casualties by more than two-thirds.

“We have no higher obligation than to protect those we send to the front lines,” said Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Joseph R. Biden Jr., D-Del., in a statement.

“While we argue in Washington about the best course of action in Iraq, our troops on the ground face Improvised Explosive Devices, Rocket Propelled Grenades, Explosively Formed Penetrators, sniper fire, and suicide bombers every day. I am heartened to know that my amendment -- with the support of Democrats and Republicans working together -- will provide technology and equipment that will save American lives on the ground in Iraq.”

The bipartisan amendment was co-sponsored by Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.; Robert Casey, D-Pa.; Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio; Bernie Sanders I-Vt.; Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark.; and Carl Levin, D-Mich.

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