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Providing For Consideration Of H.R. 1585, National Defense Authorization Act For Fiscal Year 2008

Floor Speech

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC


PROVIDING FOR CONSIDERATION OF H.R. 1585, NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT FOR FISCAL YEAR 2008 -- (House of Representatives - May 16, 2007)

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Mrs. WILSON of New Mexico. Madam Speaker, the Democrat leadership has blocked several important amendments on this bill, and I will oppose this rule. But there is one that they block that makes absolutely no sense, and it really calls into question the priorities of the majority on the Rules Committee.

There are 2 million women in this country's history who have served in uniform. All of them have been volunteers, and I was one of them. I am the only woman veteran serving in the United States Congress.

One in seven Americans serving in Iraq or Afghanistan are women, and the challenges that they face when they come home are often different than their male counterparts, particularly when accessing health care from both DOD facilities and VA facilities. Many women veterans don't even call themselves veterans and don't know that they are eligible for care, and care is not always available that is appropriate for women in the VA system.

I offered an amendment that was noncontroversial, and it wasn't even particularly aggressive. All it said was that we should have a bipartisan commission to make some recommendations to us to get a group of people together, including women veterans, to make recommendations to this House on how we can make this system better for women veterans so they can get the health care that they need, and all of us have seen the problems that women veterans are facing.

The amendment wasn't made in order.

Now, I know, like everyone else, that time on the floor is limited, and we can't do everything. But I would note that an amendment was made in order for a study in Ms. Slaughter's district, the chairwoman of the Rules Committee, for a plan for Niagara Air Reserve Base in her district. So we have got time on the floor to have an amendment for a study for Ms. Slaughter, but 2 million women veterans don't count as much.

So I would ask my colleague here from Florida, who is here defending the decision of the Rules Committee, why did you, in your committee, think it was more important to allow an amendment for a study of Niagara Air Reserve Base in Ms. Slaughter's district and to turn your back on 2 million women veterans?

I yield 30 seconds to get an answer from the Rules Committee. Why is the Niagara Air Reserve Base study more important than helping 2 million women veterans get their health care? You didn't rule my amendment in order. What's your excuse?

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