Troops Phone Home Free Initiative to be Signed into Law

Initiative would provide a monthly allotment of free calling time to troops in Iraq and Afghanistan

November 13, 2003

Washington, DC - Senator John McCain, Chairman of the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, today praised the passage of a provision in the Department of Defense Authorization Act, H.R. 1588, which authorizes the Secretary of Defense to provide a free calling time to troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. The provision is modeled after the Troops Phone Home Free Act of 2003, sponsored by Senator McCain and passed by the Senate in April. The legislation provides a monthly allotment of free telephone calling time to members of the armed forces outside of the United States who are directly supporting military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. It directs the Secretary of Defense to provide these troops with the ability to call home by providing a prepaid calling card or equivalent telecommunications benefit worth up to $40 or 120 minutes every month. The bill is also designed to provide additional telephones for use by our troops where necessary. "For as long as there have been military operations far from home, service members have sought solace in communicating with those they left behind. The opportunity to talk by telephone can provide significant emotional and psychological support to both the soldier and their family and friends. This bill will help to ensure that brave men and women who are putting their lives in harm's way for the cause of our protection are not forced to pass up on opportunities to talk with their loved ones because they can’t afford the phone calls," McCain said. ###