VETERAN FUNDING SHORTFALL -- (House of Representatives - July 13, 2005)
(Mr. SALAZAR asked and was given permission to address the House for 1 minute and to revise and extend his remarks.)
Mr. SALAZAR. Mr. Speaker, as a veteran, I have made a pledge to serve my country, and because of my desire to defend the ideals of democracy that I still cherish.
As part of our commitment, the Army promised all veterans a variety of benefits. In the past several years, I have seen some of those promises turn from honored commitments to veterans and their families to empty words that seem to be worth nothing more than the paper they are written on.
Mr. Speaker, 2 weeks ago, we were informed the Veterans Administration would fall short by more than a billion dollars of what is needed to provide critical services to veterans. I was angered and dismayed at this gross negligence and oversight and spoke before this very House in strong support of the emergency spending bill passed 2 weeks ago.
We will soon be seeing another request from the President to complete the needed funding for the health care of our Nation's veterans. I will support this measure too because I support our veterans, but it is absurd and it is a crying shame that the health of veterans boils down to bitter partisan fights.
As Democrats, we have repeatedly demanded full funding for our veterans' needs. It is our duty to fully fund the Veterans Administration and do it right the first time, not after three or four attempts.