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Veterans Day is an opportunity for us to honor the lives and sacrifices of our nation?s veterans. America?s veterans have dedicated themselves to securing the safety and freedom of their fellow Americans. We enjoy rights and freedoms unmatched by any other nation in the world and our brave servicemen and women have served throughout history to make that possible. For these selfless actions, we have a responsibility to ensure that our troops are sufficiently provided for when they return home.
Earlier this year, with my support, the House of Representatives passed the largest increase in veterans funding in the 77-year history of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The Fiscal Year 2008 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act includes significant funding for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) care, traumatic brain injury research and care, mental health care, and substance abuse treatment for veterans. The veterans spending bill also contains vital funding to improve VA facilities, hospitals and clinics. Most importantly, this legislation contains the funding needed to add 1,100 new VA case workers to help reduce the unacceptable delays many veterans face in receiving their benefits.
Despite the fact that the House of Representatives overwhelming passed this legislation nearly five months ago and the U.S. Senate passed similar legislation two months ago, a final bill has yet to be sent to the President to be signed into law. Sadly, some in Congress have suggested combining the veterans? spending measure with other more contentious legislation such as the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Act, which is loaded with excessive spending.
Our veterans deserve quality dependable medical care and the Veterans Affairs Appropriations bill will help ensure that we continue to meet the needs of those brave men and women who have served our nation to protect the freedoms we hold so very dear. We must not allow this legislation to fall prey to partisan politics. It is crucial that we continue to provide the vital resources such as health care, housing and benefits to the brave Americans who have served and sacrificed for their country.
America?s veterans put the needs of their country before their own and serve for the good of their fellow countrymen and women. We have made significant strides to better meet the needs of our veterans, but our work is not finished. On this Veterans Day, let us all take a moment to thank the members of our military, past and present. We are grateful for the sacrifices made by these brave soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines who have so nobly defended our nation on foreign soil and allowed us to enjoy the freedoms and liberties of our great country.