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Home Action Legislative Action Current Bills and Actions Rep. Skelton Wants SOA/ WHINSEC Amendment to be Debated
Rep. Skelton Wants SOA/ WHINSEC Amendment to be Debated PDF Print E-mail
Testimony by Rep. Ike Skelton (D-MO) from the Congressional Record, a transcript of U.S. House of Representatives floor debate on the rule providing for HR 5122, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2007 - May 11, 2006

Ms. SLAUGHTER. Mr. Speaker, I yield 5 minutes to the gentleman from Missouri (Mr. Skelton), the ranking member of the Committee on Armed Services and a hero of mine.

Mr. SKELTON. Mr. Speaker, my fellow Missourian, Mark Twain, once said, ``The more you explain it to me, the more I don't understand it.'' And that is where we are on this rule; in particular not allowing some amendments, including my amendment which would be very helpful to the families of those in uniform, to be in order. Thus, I rise in strong opposition to the rule.

Let me speak about my amendment first. It reduces the copay of the servicemembers and their families for prescription drugs. Currently, there is a $3 copay charge for generic drugs and a $9 copay for name-brand drugs. Under the bill, it zeros out mail-order orders, which is fine in some cases, but increases the generic drugs to $6, and increases name brand to $16.

You have to say that is not a lot, but if you are a corporal with three children that get sick and you have to multiply the $16 times one or two or three times when you have serious illness in your family, it is going to cost an awful lot more. That is why it is important that we do our very best to take care of the troops.

This is not brain surgery. This is helping the troops in some small, positive, decent way.

And, you know, this amendment was not made in order.

I have to compliment the bipartisanship of the base bill. I am proud of it. Chairman Hunter did a good job in working on that, and we worked our will on some of the amendments, including the one I offered.

It only lost by two votes, 28 for it and 30 against it. What is wrong with taking that measure up on the floor of the House of Representatives and letting us work our will for the troops, for the young people, particularly for that private first class, that sergeant, that corporal that might have a family that needs help?

You say, well, they can do it by mail order.

If your child is really sick or has the flu or it is over a long weekend, you are not going to get anything by mail order. You are going to go down to the drugstore and you are going to pay through the nose, just as this bill is requiring.

All we want to do is help the young folks; this is a way we can do it. And if the amendment is voted down, the will of the House has worked its way. I would do my best to convince every Member of this body to vote for it.

So I think what we need to do is to go back to the Rules Committee and ask them to allow the Skelton amendment to be made in order.

There are other amendments that should have been looked at. Mr. Israel has one that deals with chaplains that is very, very evenhanded. Mr. Hoyer has one, as well as Mr. Udall and Mr. McGovern and some other Members, regarding energy, that should be looked at.
 

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