Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Democratic and Republican Members of Congress joined representatives from Veterans Service Organizations for a photo opportunity on the Veterans Health Care Budget Reform and Transparency Act this afternoon in the Speaker's Office. The legislation, a top priority for Veterans Service Organizations and Congress, authorizes appropriations for Veterans Affairs Department medical care programs one year in advance of the start of each fiscal year, beginning in 2011. At the event, Speaker Pelosi signed the legislation, which will now be sent to President Obama for his signature. Below are the Speaker's remarks:
"Good afternoon. This is a happy day for us because we are making progress for our veterans. This landmark legislation upholds our commitment to our nation's veterans, to the men and women who serve overseas so that we can know safety here at home. The support of 409 Members -- a very, very strong bipartisan show of support -- shows that they care for our veterans here in the Congress in a very bipartisan way. I am joined by the Chairman of the Veterans Affairs Committee, Congressman Bob Filner of California, and Congressman Chet Edwards of Texas, who is the chair of the Appropriations subcommittee for our veterans. I am also pleased to be joined by Congressmen Henry Brown and John Boozman, our Republican colleagues.
"Again, with this message we are ensuring that the VA can more effectively plan for the future and our veterans will have the sources of care and support they have earned. I am proud to stand by the side of so many of our colleagues and so many veterans who are with us, America's veterans groups and veterans organizations. We reiterate a solemn promise to the members of our armed forces: just as the military pledges never to leave a soldier behind on the battlefield, when they come home we will leave no veteran behind.
"I am honored to sign the Veterans Health Care Budget Reform and Transparency Act of 2009. And I am going to do it with many pens.