The House Armed Services Committee today voted 32-25, with two members voting “present,” to approve Rep. Ellen Tauscher‘s bill to set minimum recuperation periods between deployments for troops serving in Iraq, clearing the way for a House floor vote next week.
H.R. 3159, which Tauscher, D-Alamo, introduced just this week, is the House version of an amendment (S.2012) offered earlier this month by U.S. Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va., requiring that if a unit or member of a regular Armed Forces component deploys to Iraq, they will have the same time at home before they are redeployed. National Guard and Reserve troops couldn’t be redeployed to Iraq or Afghanistan for at least three years after their previous deployment. Tauscher chairs the House Armed Services Strategic Forces Subcommittee.
“The Bush administration’s current strategy of multiple back-to-back deployments has stretched our military and is breaking our all-volunteer force. If we fail to act we do so at the expense of our military readiness. We need a posture that allows units adequate dwell time to recover, train and equip before their next assignment. If we do not fix this problem immediately, we will suffer massive recruitment and retention problems in the near future,” Tauscher said in a news release.
Also marked up by the committee today was H.R. 3087, of which Tauscher is an original co-sponsor, requiring the President within 60 days to send Congress a comprehensive strategy for redeployment of troops out of Iraq. This bill notes Congress’ original authorization for the war no longer has any resemblance to the current military mission in Iraq. Apparently far less contentious, this bill was passed by the committee on a 55-2 vote.