The following is a transcript of President Bush's weekly radio address:
THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. Congress will soon vote on legislation to fund our troops serving on the front lines of the war on terror. This is an opportunity for Congress to give our men and women in uniform the tools they need to protect us, and Congress should approve these vital funds immediately.
Congress has had this funding request for more than a year, and there is no reason for further delay. This money is urgently needed to support military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. I put forward some reasonable requirements this bill must meet. First, this bill must give our troops the resources they need to defeat the terrorists and extremists. Second, the bill must not tie the hands of our commanders. Third, the bill must not exceed the reasonable and responsible funding levels I have requested.
Congress has had 16 months to decide how they will meet these requirements, and now the time has come for them to support our troops in harm's way. If Congress does not act, critical accounts at the Department of Defense will soon run dry. At the beginning of next month, civilian employees may face temporary layoffs. The department will have to close down a vital program that is getting potential insurgents off the streets and into jobs. The Pentagon will run out of money it needs to support critical day-to-day operations that help keep our Nation safe. And after July, the department will no longer be able to pay our troops — including those serving in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Our men and women in uniform and their families deserve better than this. Around the world, our troops are taking on dangerous missions with skill and determination. In Afghanistan, they are delivering blows to the Taliban and al Qaeda. In Iraq, they've helped bring violence down to its lowest point since late March of 2004. Civilian deaths are down. Sectarian killings are down. As security has improved, the economy has improved as well, and political reconciliation is taking place at the grassroots and national levels. The Iraqi security forces are becoming more capable, and as they do, our troops are beginning to come home under a policy of return on success.
Each day, the men and women of our Armed Forces risk their lives to make sure their fellow citizens are safer. They serve with courage and honor. They've earned the respect of all Americans. And they deserve the full support of Congress. I often hear members of Congress say they oppose the war, but still support the troops. Now they have a chance to prove it. Congress should pass a responsible funding bill that gives our men and women in uniform the resources they need — and the support they have earned.
Thank you for listening.