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Veterans Health Care

Location: Washington, DC

VETERANS HEALTH CARE -- (House of Representatives - July 13, 2005)

(Mr. DeFAZIO asked and was given permission to address the House for 1 minute.)

Mr. DeFAZIO. Mr. Speaker, talk is cheap, but health care is very expensive; and for the last 5 years, the Bush administration has offered our veterans empty rhetoric while denying them access to needed health care.

As veterans groups and Democrats fought to increase the veterans budget for the last 3 years, the Republican majority and the White House have been in deep denial. But I get weekly reports, and I bet you do too, from my veterans rep who tells me that people's treatment has been delayed, denied, people who cannot even get in the door for 6 months.

Now, 2 weeks ago, the administration admitted, well, I guess we need another $1 billion for health care for veterans this year. Today they said it is $3 billion more; but they say, oh, you know, we just could not have known, we could not have anticipated there would be veterans coming home from Iraq or Afghanistan who are wounded and injured and need services. They did not know there was a war going on. And they also said they could not anticipate the aging of the World War II and Korean veterans. They did not build that into the budget. They just did not know.

But they had a chairman on that side for a couple of years who told us he did know. He told us we needed more money, and they fired him from that job. At least a few Republicans are standing up for what is right.

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