Speaker Nancy Pelosi delivered remarks at a press conference in San Francisco today to discuss the impact of the recently enacted G.I. Bill on student veterans. Below are the Speaker's remarks as prepared for delivery:
"I'm so proud to come to San Francisco State University -- one of our nation's leading public urban universities.
"SFSU is known nationally as a "College with a Conscience.' The university demonstrates this, in part, through its outreach to the veteran students. So many members of the student body have demonstrated this by serving our nation in uniform.
"Yesterday, I had the opportunity to speak in Milwaukee to the American Legion's 92nd Annual Convention about the commitment of the Congress to those who have served our nation -- when they are abroad, and when they come home.
"In 2005, the Legion came to Congress and told us that the GI Bill -- a centerpiece of American prosperity -- no longer kept pace with the times. The benefit no longer gave our veterans the four year education they had been promised.
"Working with Veterans Service Organizations, we have restored the promise of a full, four-year scholarship for our Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, and we made it transferable to their spouses and children.
"Educating our nation's veterans is a cost of war, and it is a promise we make to our troops for their courageous service to our country.
"Already, 300,000 veterans and their families have pursued a degree through this initiative. And right here at SFSU, nearly 500 students are benefitting from Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits.
"The new GI Bill builds on our accomplishments:
* Ensuring Advanced Appropriations for the VA;
* Passing the largest increase in veterans health funding in history;
* Making investments to help deliver care where veterans live and more than quadrupling the travel reimbursement.
* Including billions of dollars of investments in the Recovery Act to provide jobs, tax cuts, and quality-of-life improvements to our troops and veterans and to reduce the claims backlog.
* Providing more than $13 billion in disability compensation for those suffering from the aftereffects of Agent Orange.
"Our nation can never fully repay the debt of gratitude we owe to the courageous men and women who have worn our nation's uniform. For those who have answered America's call to duty, there are no make-up days for missed birthdays, anniversaries, and graduations.
"We honor our troops by never forgetting their families. Nearly 2 million children in American have at least one parent serving in the military, and nearly 1 million children have seen a parent endure multiple deployments.
"With that in mind, I would like to tell you the story of just one --Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry.
"Gunnery Sergeant Fry was a father of three serving in Anbar Province. After suffering a serious hand injury, he was told he could go home with a Bronze Star. But he volunteered to stay and serve. He said he wanted to stay and protect his fellow Marines.
"John David Fry defused nearly 100 bombs during his time in Iraq. The last bomb took his life.
"The Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry Scholarship, passed by Congress, promises the children of those killed in the line of duty since Sept. 10, 2001, will receive the GI Bill benefits their parents earned. John David Fry has three children who will now be able to go to college because of their father's service and sacrifice.
"We can never repay their sacrifice; but we can, and we must, honor the patriotism, courage, and service of all of our men and women in uniform.
"Because of you, we are the land of the free and the home of the brave.
"Just as our troops pledge to leave no one behind on the battlefield, we will leave no veteran behind when they come home."