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Bonamici, Buerkle Pass Amendment to Increase Access to Lifesaving Equipment for National Guard

July 18, 2012
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – An amendment to the Defense Appropriations Bill introduced by Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) and Congresswoman Ann Marie Buerkle (R-NY) passed the U.S. House of Representatives today by voice vote.

The amendment requires the National Guard to complete a capability assessment of the medical equipment its domestic Humvee ambulances should be required to carry in federal and state missions. Right now, these ambulances have no requirement to carry cardiac monitoring and resuscitation equipment, limiting their capability to adequately treat a wide range of injuries in an emergency situation.

This is a common sense issue,” Congresswoman Bonamici said on the House floor. The National Guard men and women operating ambulances “should be provided the best capability available to save lives in the event of an emergency. This amendment helps ensure that these ambulances are ready to respond to terrorist attacks, homeland security emergencies, natural disasters, and whatever else comes their way.”

Specifically, the amendment will require the National Guard Bureau to reexamine whether or not cardiac monitoring and resuscitation is required and necessary for the Guard to fulfill its significant responsibilities. Should the capability assessment find that the equipment is necessary, under this amendment the Army may use funds from this section to retrofit and install this equipment in domestic Humvee ambulances currently in use by the National Guard.

Brigadier General Mike Caldwell of the Oregon National Guard commended the amendment. “The mission of the National Guard is compromised when we don’t have the necessary equipment to treat severe injuries and save people’s lives,” he said. “I thank Congresswomen Bonamici and Buerkle for fighting to make sure our ambulances are adequately equipped and capable of carrying out the responsibilities of the National Guard.”

For 375 years the National Guard has been our first line of defense and disaster response,” said Congresswoman Buerkle. “Congress has a duty to provide our Guardmembers with the best tools available to carry out their difficult missions. That is what this amendment does. It ensures our National Guard medics will have the appropriate resources in their ambulances to respond to a variety of emergency situations.”

Final passage of the Defense Appropriations bill is expected on Friday. To watch Congresswoman Bonamici’s speech on the House floor today, click here.