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Military Quality of Life and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act, 2006

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Location: Washington, DC


MILITARY QUALITY OF LIFE AND VETERANS AFFAIRS APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2006 -- (House of Representatives - May 26, 2005)

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Mr. LARSON of Connecticut. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the last word.

Mr. Chairman, I would like to rise and associate myself with the remarks of the distinguished gentleman from Oregon (Mr. Blumenauer) and strongly support his amendment. Let me also add and thank the very thoughtful colloquy that was conducted by the gentleman from California (Mr. Farr) and the distinguished chairman from New York (Mr. Walsh). Clearly, his involvement and assistance is much needed and greatly appreciated.

But as a State and, I daresay, for the Northeast as an entire region that has been targeted, when you look at statistically what is going on here in the 17 communities, as the gentleman noted, that are in dire shape, and you look at the length of time as we project out, you now understand why communities have such enormous apprehension about this. Or as Peter Finley Dunne would say, ``Trust everyone, but cut the cards.'' And in the case of the BRAC hearings, we feel that we need a new deal.

I further would just say in listening to the distinguished Chair, the gentleman from New York (Mr. Walsh), and again, I applaud him personally for his efforts, while there will be more money available for cleanup from the sale of the El Toro Marine Air Station, the amount needed is over $3.6 billion. Even with these new funds, we are less than one-third of the way there in terms of the funding. One-third of the way there, and we are adding on all these new communities.

And in looking at what the BRAC findings initially have projected, and especially looking at the State of Connecticut in terms of the cleanup, how drastically underestimated they have been in those areas as well. So these are very disturbing, and that is why I again thank the gentleman from Oregon (Mr. Blumenauer) for raising this very important and thoughtful amendment, a common-sense approach, that before we proceed to a fifth round, that we make sure that we address these very important issues that impact all of our communities.

If we are going to have trust in this process, as the gentleman has appropriately pointed out, then Congress cannot abrogate its responsibility. It has to assume that responsibility and assure these communities that are going to be impacted, if we are to proceed in a strategic and very important, common-sense approach to this issue.

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