May 19, 2005

Contact: Jeff Schrade (202)224-9093

(Washington, DC) House and Senate negotiators have agreed to legislation which will benefit traumatically injured military personnel.  The "wounded warrior" amendment, sponsored by Senator Larry Craig (R-Idaho), is part of an $82.04 billion package now on its way to the president.

The emergency supplemental package, of which the wounded warrior legislation is a part, must still go before the House and Senate for final approval by each body.  It cannot be amended.  The vote is considered "pro forma" but is a necessary step to get the legislation to the president's desk.

Under the new legislation, those seriously injured while in the service of their county will receive anywhere from $25,000 and $100,000 for the injuries they sustain. The amount will depend on the severity of the injury.

"Just a few days ago I was in Germany visiting with soldiers who were injured in Iraq. This legislation will help them as they deal with the costs of family members leaving jobs to support them while they are in the hospital," said Craig, who chairs the U.S. Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs. 

Craig was in Germany after he visited with soldiers from Idaho now stationed in Iraq. Along with him were Secretary of Veterans Affairs Jim Nicholson, Idaho Congressmen Butch Otter and Mike Simpson.  While in Germany the four officials met with wounded soldiers at the U.S. Army hospital in Landstahl.

Stars and Stripes, a daily newspaper distributed overseas for the U.S. military, photographed Craig with Spc. Nicholas Dahmen-Bosse, who hails from Craig's home state. The Idaho soldier is in the Landstahl hospital as a result of injuries he received after his left arm was hit when an IED exploded in Iraq.  (See:

"It's tough when you see such young men and women injured, but hopefully this legislation will help ease the difficult times of they have in front of them," Craig said.

The wounded warrior legislation was drafted just three weeks ago after Craig met with three young men who had been wounded in Iraq.  They shared with him the struggles they and their families faced as parents and wives left jobs to be with them while they were in the hospital.

"Three weeks from idea to signed bill is highly unusual.  It just tells you how important this legislation," Craig said.

In addition to the "Wounded Warrior" benefits, the new legislation on its way to the president authorizes the Department of Defense to increase to $500,000 the amount that can be paid to surviving families of deceased servicemen.