Thursday, May 17, 2007

U.S. Rep. Boswell: Named 'Blue Dog of the Week'

Contact: Susan McAvoy 202-226-7694

Iowa Congressman Commended for Leadership in Congress on Behalf of America's Veterans

Washington, D.C. - Today the fiscally conservative Democratic Blue Dog Coalition recognized Iowa Representative Leonard Boswell for his leadership in securing the passage of the "Joshua Omvig Veterans Suicide Prevention Act" by naming him "Blue Dog of the Week." As the original sponsor, Rep. Boswell worked diligently to secure House passage of the bill, which aims to reduce the incidence of suicide among veterans suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

"By taking the lead on such an important piece of legislation, Rep. Boswell has demonstrated his commitment to the brave men and women who risk their lives everyday to defend our country," said Rep. Mike Ross (D-AR), Blue Dog Co-Chair for Communications. "As members of the Blue Dog Coalition, we are dedicated to the health and safety of our men and women in uniform - during their time in the field and after they return home."

"With one out of five suicides in the U. S. being a veteran, we must treat their psychological injuries as well as their physical ones," said Rep. Leonard Boswell. "Joshua Omvig took his own life after returning from his tour in Iraq. When I heard about his situation and after speaking with his parents, I knew something had to be done. One life lost to suicide is one too many. We treat our veterans' physical injuries, now it is time to treat the wounds that are not visible."

"With more and more veterans returning from tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, new issues have arisen regarding the care of veterans' mental health. Some estimates have found that almost one thousand veterans receiving care from the Department of Veterans Affairs commit suicide each year and one out of five suicides in the United States a veteran. We must do better for our veterans, and I believe this legislation is a step in the right direction," said Rep. Boswell.

Rep. Boswell and his Blue Dog colleagues have also introduced H.Res.97, "Providing for Operation Iraqi Freedom Cost Accountability." The resolution focuses on four crucial points including: calling for more transparency on how Iraq war funds are spent; creating a Truman Commission to investigate the awarding of contracts to look into reports of war profiteering; calling for future funding of the Iraq war to be done through the normal appropriations process and not through hiding the costs of the war in so- called "emergency" supplementals; and, demanding greater responsibility of the Iraqis for their own security and internal policing operations.

The fiscally conservative Democratic Blue Dog Coalition was formed in 1995 with the goal of representing the center of the House of Representatives and appealing to the mainstream values of the American public. The Blue Dogs are dedicated to a core set of beliefs that transcend partisan politics, including a deep commitment to the financial stability and national security of the United States. Currently there are 43 members of the Blue Dog Coalition. Rep. Boswell is currently featured on the Blue Dog Coalition website, located at

--submitted by Patti Woodard

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