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This Fourth of July we look to the blessings of liberty and are reminded of how precious they are.
Two hundred and thirty-three years ago, a group of men, made up of merchants, lawyers, farmers, educators, soldiers, physicians and pastors, risked charges of treason, because they possessed a vision.
They recognized that liberty is a birthright, not something granted by a king. They had the courage of their convictions to pledge their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor so that a new nation might be born.
Ours is a noble heritage marked by self-sacrifice for causes greater than any one individual. Those in our armed forces who have answered the call to service are often willing to pay the last full measure of devotion so that we can enjoy the freedoms and liberties of our great country.
With that in mind, the House of Representatives took steps to ensure that these courageous men and women have the resources they need to carry out their important missions. Last week the House overwhelmingly passed the National Defense Authorization Act, which offers critical support to our men and women on the front lines.
This bipartisan legislation provides a 3.4% pay increase for military personnel, expands TRICARE coverage, the military health care program, for members of the reserve forces and their families, and includes funding for family housing programs to support and expand the quality housing that our military families deserve.
Additionally, the legislation ensures that our service members have the necessary equipment, weapons and training to complete their missions. The funds authorized by this bill will be used to train U.S. forces, purchase protective gear, repair older equipment, and transport equipment and personnel around the world.
Our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines put their lives on the line to defend our freedom and make America safe. They have made enormous sacrifices even before setting foot on the battlefield, leaving behind loved ones, and for the Guard and reserves, their livelihoods. Our troops have volunteered to defend our country wherever and whenever they are called, and they are executing their mission with professionalism and unparalleled courage.
So I encourage you in the midst of family BBQ's, parades and fireworks to remember and honor our founding fathers and their vision of a great and free nation and to also take a moment to pay tribute to the brave men and women in uniform who continue to serve the cause of freedom today and carry out the vision of our founding fathers. These noble individuals deserve our honor, respect, confidence and above all our continued prayers for their sacrifice here at home and abroad.
From my family to yours, I wish all of you a happy and safe Fourth of July.