From the D.C. notebook...
Funding for a new National Guard Armory in Winchester is now all but a done deal.
Rep. Frank Wolf, R-10th, announced Friday that the full House of Representatives has approved the fiscal 2006 Military Quality of Life-Veterans Affairs Appropriations conference report, which includes $7.619 million for the building.
Winchester’s current armory, located on Millwood Avenue next to Shenandoah University, is the oldest in Virginia. It was dedicated and opened for use a full year before the United States entered World War II when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor.
Members of the state’s congressional delegation, including Wolf and Sen. John Warner, have been working for some time to get the federal share of the $10.1 million project included in federal defense bills.
State government will pick up about 25 percent of the cost. Frederick County has been offered a site to place the building as part of a new subdivision being constructed near Winchester Regional Airport.
“I know how important having a modern facility is to all the brave men and women from the area who have sacrificed so much over the last two years,” Wolf said.
“I don’t want to say it is a ‘reward,’ because this is something we have been working on for a number of years, but the timing couldn’t be better.”
Senate approval of the conference report, which cannot be amended, is expected soon.
— Daily Staff Report
Wolf to Bush: Appoint independent panel to report on Iraq
One local member of Congress wants the Bush administration to take a new look at the way things are going in Iraq.
Rep. Frank Wolf, R-10th, is circulating a letter that calls on the administration to put together an independent panel to examine how nation-building efforts in the former dictatorship are going.
Six other Republicans have signed the letter to date.
The group would be charged with “communicating to the American public what it would mean to the country if the mission in Iraq failed,” according to Wolf, who has been to Iraq three times since the United States invaded in 2003.
Bush has come under increasing criticism as of late for his handling of the war. The GOP-led Senate approved a resolution this week asking Iraqi forces preparing to take over security operations for the country to pick up the pace.
“More and more Americans are questioning our role in Iraq,” the letter states.
“While foreign policy must not fall prey to the latest public opinion polls when America’s sons and daughters are in harm’s way, bold leadership is required to assure the nation that every effort is being made to protect our troops and realize our goal of a secure and peaceful Iraq.”
“The [new] panel would do just that — reporting not just to the administration or even Congress, but to the American people,” the letter states.
“It is a commonsense approach which will ultimately serve our country well, better equipping us to be successful in Iraq and in the war on terrorism — a war we cannot afford to lose.”
— Daily Staff Report