U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today supported the Defense Authorization bill which includes one measure the senator sponsored to help sick Oak Ridge nuclear workers seeking health care, and another to make certain that overseas military votes are counted.
“This bill provides the men and women of the Armed Forces who are fighting abroad to protect our liberties and way of life with a 3.5 percent pay raise and assurance that their absentee ballots will be counted on Election Day,” said Alexander. “Tennessee has more workers who were made sick through their exposure to nuclear weapon hazards than any other state in the union—nearly 20,000 cases—and this bill will ensure that these unsung heroes of the Cold War have greater access to the help they need.”
The Defense Authorization Act includes:
• A Bingaman-Alexander amendment, co-authored by Alexander and Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.), that expands the role of the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act (EEOICPA) Ombudsman’s office to cover all aspects of the program to ensure claimants get answers to their questions, better understand the claims process, and collect the kinds of records they need to support their claims.
• A provision that will provide new tools to ensure that completed absentee ballots from members of the Armed Forces make it home in time to be tallied by Election Day.
• An across-the-board pay raise of 3.5 percent for our military—this is a half-percent higher than the president’s request.
• A provision that will strengthen the Army by adding 30,000 soldiers, easing the strain on troops by lengthening the time between deployments.