THIS POST over at The Castle alerted me to our wonderful Congress in action. Absolutely disgusting.

Y'know, it just TORQUES ME RIGHT OFF that the Honorables of this Committee could rummage about and find $160 mil for an unneeded service to cover an embarrassing faux pas by an agency of this government, but, well, there just isn't $7 mil to continue funding research into what is the Signature Injury Of This War.

For a little more background, check out the following:

Durbin Earmark's Defeat No Sign of Reform

Payback time came Aug. 2, when the Defense appropriations bill was debated under management of Stevens as Appropriations subcommittee chairman. Durbin proposed his University of Chicago earmark to improve imaging of traumatic brain injuries. The hook connecting this with Defense was ''adaptation of current technologies to treat brain injuries suffered in combat.'' Durbin had been turned down in Stevens' subcommittee, but he used his access as whip to try again on the floor. The co-sponsor -- Durbin's colleague from Illinois, Barack Obama -- was nowhere to be seen for what ensued.

Brain Dead Appropriations

American soldiers in Iraq have suffered severe brain injuries in proportions unknown in previous wars. Congressional appropriators and Pentagon officials typically say all the right things about ensuring the best treatment possible. But then they produce defense appropriations legislation that halves funding for the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center, a joint Pentagon-Veterans Affairs program headquartered at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, from $14 million to $7 million. This is unacceptable. Pentagon officials and congressional appropriators have missed a colossal opportunity to do the right thing.

Center for war-related brain injuries faces budget cut

Congress appears ready to slash funding for the research and treatment of brain injuries caused by bomb blasts, an injury that military scientists describe as a signature wound of the Iraq war.

House and Senate versions of the 2007 Defense appropriation bill contain $7 million for the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center — half of what the center received last fiscal year.

Proponents of increased funding say they are shocked to see cuts in the treatment of bomb blast injuries in the midst of a war.

"I find it basically unpardonable that Congress is not going to provide funds to take care of our soldiers and sailors who put their lives on the line for their country," says Martin Foil, a member of the center's board of directors. "It blows my imagination."

Absolutely disgusting. Feel free to jump on the bandwagon. You can track down your own Congresscritter HERE. I've already fired off a letter to my Senator...good ole' "Screw the Military in Order to Fund My Pension" Ted Stevens. Gotta love him. Sorry SOB won't be getting my vote in his next election.

In case you need help drafting your letter, here's mine:

Your Senate subcommittee defeat of the Defense appropriations bill that included funding for traumatic brain injury treatment was reprehensible at best and despeicable at best. To learn that the reasons behind the defeat lead back to political revenge at the expense of our injurred troops is disgusting.

Traumatic brain injuries are the hallmark of the Global War on Terror. IEDs injure more of our soldiers than any other weapon in use today (aside from 747s that fly into buildings). To cut the funding for treatment centers that specialize in Traumatic Brain Injury is doing a disservice to our military members and their families. Need I remind you that one of the largest contributors to the Alaskan economy is the military?

I find it rather ironic that $160 million could be scrounged up so quickly to provide free credit counseling in the face of the missing laptop and financial information yet Congress seems to be unable to find 1/10th of that, in terms of funding for something so critical and vital.

I would strongly encourage you to take another look at the budget and try cutting some pork that is so prevalent and nowhere near as necessary in order to help those who make this country what it is and defend YOUR right to be employed by a government that is free.

Let 'em have it.


- hfs

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