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Continuing Appropriations and Surface Transportation Extensions Act, 2011

Floor Speech

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. EDWARDS of Texas. Madam Speaker, David Obey would be the first to say our democracy is bigger than any one of us, but I come here tonight to say that in the history of Congress, he is truly one of its giants. It is hard to imagine Congress without him. He has been a giant of courage, a giant of ethics, a giant of insight and wisdom as an institutionalist who believes in this House with all of his heart and soul, and a giant in the fight for everyday citizens who often don't have a voice speaking for them.

I want to pay special tribute to Chairman Obey for what he has done so quietly behind the scenes for America's veterans. He has been their unsung hero. In the 4 years that he has chaired the Appropriations Committee--these past 4 years--we have ended up, under his leadership and in partnership with Speaker Pelosi, with 3,000 new VA doctors, 13,000 new VA nurses, and 145 new VA community clinics. All of that means better care, more timely care, more quality care for America's heroes and their families. It means respect to those who serve--respect with our deeds and not just with words.

The greatest tribute I can pay as a father to Dave Obey is he has truly made a difference for my family and for the American family. Perhaps the greatest tribute he could hear, though, is that, I would say if Archy the Cockroach and Richard Bolling were here today on the floor of this House, they would say, Mr. Chairman, job well done.

It has been a privilege to work with you and to learn from you. You will have left this country a better place. For that, we all thank you and salute you.

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