U.S. House passes Conyers Amendment to Increase Funding for USO Programs by 50% for Deployed Servicemembers
WASHINGTON— Late yesterday evening, the U.S. House of Representatives considered H.R. 2685, the “Department of Defense Appropriations Act of 2015.” During consideration of the legislation, Congressman John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) offered an amendment to increase federal funding for the United Service Organizations (USO) by 50 percent, which received unanimous support.
“On a daily basis, the United Service Organizations (USO) reaches U.S. military members in numerous ways,” said Rep. John Conyers. “Connecting troops to their families through calling cards and the internet is just part of the USO’s 40-plus program repertoire, but it is incredibly important to our deployed men and women, and to their spouses, parents, siblings, and children.”
Added Conyers, “In an era where our servicemembers are fighting prolonged wars, connecting them to their families and friends back home is a service to our military that we cannot afford to underfund. In fact, 93% of troops surveyed in 2012 agreed that USO services boost morale, ease separation from friends and family, and convey a feeling of support for the servicemember. […] This amendment will reduce the Operations and Maintenance Defense-wide account by less than one two-thousandth (1/2000), while having an immeasurable impact on the quality of life of our servicemen and women. It is past time that we direct sufficient funds to the quality of life of the men and women that sacrifice everything to defend our nation.”
In a strong bipartisan show of support, Republican Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-N.J.), Chairman of the House Appropriations subcommittee on Defense, praised the amendment: “We would like to salute the Dean of the house for his strong support of the USO,” said Rep. Frelinghuysen. “All of us want to thank you for your significant leadership over many years, and for choosing this incredibly wonderful organization to plus up.”