DEMOCRATIC CONGRESS HAD TO FIGHT PRESIDENT BUSH ALL THE WAY ON THE VETERANS FUNDING BILL -- (House of Representatives - November 15, 2007)
(Mr. PALLONE asked and was given permission to address the House for 1 minute.)
Mr. PALLONE. Mr. Speaker, last week this House passed a final veterans funding bill that provides the largest investment in veterans health care in the 77-year history of the VA. Congress initially passed this legislation over the opposition of President Bush and his administration.
Now, back in June, then Bush budget director, Rob Portman, said that the Bush administration would veto the Homeland Security measure as well as an even more generous bill funding veterans health programs and construction at military bases.
One week later, when this House was about to vote on the legislation, the White House sent over a letter saying that planned increases to veterans were excessive.
And then in August, the President directed his VA Secretary to send Congress a letter letting them know that veterans didn't really need $3.7 billion we had included over the President's request.
Mr. Speaker, it's clear that, until recently, President Bush and his administration did not believe we should fulfill our promises to our Nation's veterans. The President's paper trail is clear, and had it not been for this Democratic Congress, our veterans would not now be one step closer to the historic funding increase.