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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Bill Young vs. Defense Secretary Robert Gates



humvee_and_soldier_600.jpgU.S. Rep. Bill Young fired off a letter today to Defense Secretary Robert Gates saying he's offended by the suggestion that troops are at risk over Young's decision to protect funding for a Humvee project Gates says is not needed.

"As someone who has spent the past 40 years fighting to provide for our troops and their families, I find it very troubling that you would suggest that my colleagues and I on the (defense appropriations) subcommittee are doing something that would 'put American lives at risk.' Nothing could be further from the truth," Young wrote.

During a budget hearing last week, Gates had sharp words over funding for the war in Afghanistan. Gates wants to shift money out of a Humvee program, saying the Army has enough. “We should not put American lives at risk to protect specific programs or contractors,” Gates said.



Young wants to preserve the funding and has produced a letter from the Marine Corps stating a desire for stronger vehicle. But critics have pointed to the Humvee maker AM General's political contributions to Young as well as his longtime relationship with a lobbyist for the company. Young said that plays no role, and never has.

In his letter today to Gates, Young says he has a compromise to provide funding for equipment Gates says he needs while maintaining the Humvee project. "Mr. Secretary, this is the compromise that I was attempting to reach with you," the letter states. "I trust you will find it is made in good faith and with the true needs of the troops at heart."

Letter is attached.

[Last modified: Wednesday, March 9, 2011 3:56pm]


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