Chris Dodd – March 30, 2006

This was supposed to have been posted on March 30. Yea looks like I forgot about it.

Dear Friend, (Hey cool! i’m a friend and not a constituent! Whoohoo!)

I am writing today to share with you some of my thoughts regarding important issues facing our country. I hope that it will give you some additional insights into my work in the Senate, as well as into issues affecting all Americans. (All? That’s impressive and a big goal for a rep in lil ol CT)

In recent weeks, my work in the Senate has focused primarily on two areas: the federal budget and America’s security. In each area, I believe that the Administration and the Congress owe the American people a great deal more in the way of action and results.

Washington Update from Chris Dodd


Listen to my podcast on the budget process by clicking here. (En Espa?ol)

Dear Friend,

I am writing today to share with you some of my thoughts regarding important issues facing our country. I hope that it will give you some additional insights into my work in the Senate, as well as into issues affecting all Americans.

In recent weeks, my work in the Senate has focused primarily on two areas: the federal budget and America’s security. In each area, I believe that the Administration and the Congress owe the American people a great deal more in the way of action and results.

The federal budget ought to reflect our nation’s deepest values and highest aspirations. It should make key investments — in our security, our children, and our economic potential — that are vital for America’s future. The budget proposed by the President, and by his allies in the Senate, fails to make those investments. Instead, they back a budget that fails to adequately provide for our nation’s security, that makes the deepest cuts in education in a quarter century, and that imposes new costs on businesses trying to grow, innovate, and create good jobs. President Bush’s budgets have turned record surpluses into record deficits and this budget continues down that dangerous path by increasing the national debt, a burden which will largely be borne by future generations.

On the matter of security, let me cite three specific examples that particularly illustrate this Administration?s misplaced priorities.



Listen to Senator Dodd’s podcast on the Dubai ports controversy here.

Here in the United States, the Administration earlier this year approved a transaction that gave operating control over major ports to the United Arab Emirates. While moderate by certain standards, the government of the UAE failed to prevent the 9-11 hijackers from utilizing its banking system, and recognized the radical Taliban as Afghanistan’s government. Most troubling, the Administration approved the UAE deal without the investigation required by U.S. law. Fortunately, the UAE-owned company withdrew its purchase decision. I’ve recently introduced legislation which I hope will prevent this kind of deal from ever going forward again without careful scrutiny and Congressional involvement.

This decision underscores the weak record of the Administration in protecting America’s ports — perhaps our country’s single greatest target of opportunity for terrorists. In fact, four and a half years after 9/11, only about five percent of cargo coming into our ports is inspected. In my view, that kind of performance is simply unacceptable. That is why I have offered legislation on the Floor of the Senate in each of the past four years to substantially increase our nation’s investment in homeland security, including the security of our vulnerable ports. Each time, the majority party in the Senate has opposed my efforts, while Democrats have strongly backed me. I will continue to pursue this matter until America’s ports and other critical infrastructure are as secure as possible.

America’s men and women in uniform are second to none, and all Americans share great pride in their service to our country. I believe that our nation should have no higher priority than the safety of American troops deployed in harm’s way — and the care of those who have come home scarred by battle. Early on in the war, I heard troubling reports that soldiers were not receiving everything that they needed to protect themselves and fulfill their mission. Somers, Connecticut resident Gordon Mello, for instance, told me that he purchased body armor on the Internet for his son Gareth, who was fighting in Iraq. Those reports were backed by the Pentagon’s own report that up to 80 percent of U.S. combat deaths due to torso injuries could have been avoided had troops been provided more adequate armored protection. To support our troops, I have attempted — again, against the will of the majority party in the Senate — to increase resources for top-flight body armor. In addition, I authored legislation that was signed into law that required Secretary Rumsfeld’s office to reimburse those who are paying out of their own pockets for body armor for American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. I continue to press the Pentagon to be more vigorous in informing U.S. troops about the law. If you are a soldier, or a family member or friend of a soldier, who has purchased body armor with personal funds, you may be eligible for reimbursement, and you can access claim forms at http://www.dtic.mil/whs/directives/infomgt/forms/eforms/dd2902.pdf.

Equally inexcusable has been the Administration’s treatment of our troops once they return from battle — specifically those who require medical care. Last year, the Administration fell over $1 billion short in providing the Veterans Administration with resources needed to care for the medical needs of soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. In response, earlier this year I offered legislation on the Senate Floor to ensure that our veterans are getting the medical attention they need and deserve. While this measure was defeated along party lines, I intend to continue to press for the best care for those who have sacrificed so much for our freedom and security.

I hope that this letter has been of some use and benefit to you. To help ensure future letters will continue to focus on matters of importance to you, I invite you to share your thoughts and concerns with me here.

Sincerely,

Chris Dodd
United States Senator





U.S. Senator Chris Dodd
448 Russell Building
Washington D.C., 20510

Tel: (202) 224-2823
Fax: (202) 224-1083

100 Great Meadow Rd
Wethersfield, CT 06109

Tel: (860) 258-6940 | (800) 334-5341 (CT only)


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