December 01, 2011

Manchin Votes to Support America’s Troops and West Virginia’s Priorities

Votes to accelerate the end of the war in Afghanistan, elevate National Guard to Joint Chiefs, give a raise to members of the armed services

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) voted tonight for the National Defense Authorization Act, a bill that advances many of West Virginians’ highest priorities, including elevating the National Guard to a position on the Joint Chiefs of Staff, accelerating the end of the war in Afghanistan and providing a pay raise to our troops. The bill passed the Senate 93-7.  

“In West Virginia, we set our priorities based on our values, and one of the values I hold most dear is taking care of the men and women who selflessly serve this nation as a part of our armed services,” Senator Manchin said. “These days there does not seem to be much we can agree on in this body, but as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, I am glad that today we put partisan politics aside to pass a critical piece of legislation that will provide our men and women in the military with the resources they need to defend this nation. I am also pleased that this bill calls for a faster withdrawal of our troops from Afghanistan, because I truly believe our armed services have done their job and it’s time for them to come home. We need to focus our resources here in this country and rebuild America, not Afghanistan. And finally, as I have said so many times, as Governor I was so proud to be commander-in-chief of the best National Guard and Reserve forces in the nation. I have the utmost confidence in our National Guard, and I believe that they have more than earned equal recognition on the Joint Chiefs of Staff.”

The bill includes a 1.6 percent across-the-board pay raise for all members of the uniformed services. 

Senator Manchin cosponsored a number of amendments that were successfully added to the bill, including S.A. 1257, which calls for an accelerated withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan. Specifically, the amendment says the President should devise a withdrawal plan based on input from military commanders, coalition allies, diplomatic missions, members of the Cabinet, and in consultation with the Congress for expediting the drawdown of U.S. combat troops in Afghanistan and accelerating the transfer of security authority to Afghan officials. In his reports to Congress, the President shall evaluate progress on the implementation of the plan. 

Brief descriptions of additional Manchin-sponsored amendments are included below: 

  • S.A. 1064, to repeal the authorization for the use of military force against Iraq and effectively end the war. The amendment failed, 30-67. 
  • S.A. 1072, to make the Chief of the National Guard Bureau a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The amendment passed unanimously. 
  • S.A. 1092, to improve the Department of Defense’s detection and avoidance of counterfeit electronic parts. This measure deals with parts that are fake or previously used and that have been made to look new and are sold as new, and whose use can cause unexpected equipment failure and grave harm to our troops. The amendment passed by voice vote. 
  • S.A. 1202, to extend the provisions of the Buy American Act to solar panels. This amendment would limit the use of Chinese-made solar panels by the Department of Defense and subject all DOD contracts and subcontracts dealing with the purchase of solar energy utilities, technology for housing, and other services to the requirements of the Buy American Act. The amendment was agreed to by unanimous consent.
  • S.A. 1414, to require additional sanctions on the financial sector of Iran, including the Central Bank of Iran. The amendment requires the President to block all transactions of Iranian financial institutions that tried to do business with U.S. financial institutions and put sanctions on countries that do not reduce their purchases of Iranian oil if sufficient other supplies are available on the world market. The amendment passed unanimously.