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Ms. BROWN of Florida. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
I wholeheartedly support the Veterans' Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act of 2012, H.R. 4114. While this committee does not control the amount of the COLA, it is critical that we pass the bill so that it can be put in place when the Social Security COLA is enacted. It is so important that the payments that our veterans, their families, and survivors receive keep pace with inflation and better enable them to put food on the table and a roof over their heads.
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased that last year's veterans COLA increase was 3.6 percent for 2012 and that we can likely expect an increase for 2013. The exact figure will be tied directly to the Social Security COLA, whose beneficiaries will also see the same increase in their payments.
As it has since 1976, Congress, through the passage of the Veterans' Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act, directs the Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs to increase the rates of basic compensation for disabled veterans and the rates of dependency and indemnity compensation to their survivors and dependents. This bill will benefit disabled veterans, their families, and their survivors from the World War I era through the current conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Many of the over 3.5 million veterans who receive disability compensation benefits depend on these payments not only to provide for their basic needs, but for those of their spouses, children, and parents as well. Without an annual COLA increase, these veterans, their families, and survivors will likely see the value of their hard-earned benefits slowly eroding.
Mr. Speaker, I think we would be derelict in our duties if we fail to guarantee that those who sacrifice so much for this country are able to receive benefits and service that keep pace with their needs and inflation.
We fund the wars; let's fund the warriors. Let me repeat: we fund the wars; let's fund the warriors.
I urge my colleagues to support the Veterans' Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act of 2012, H.R. 4114, without delay.
I reserve the balance of my time.
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