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Clothe a Homeless Hero Act

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. BILIRAKIS. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Speaker, as vice chairman of the Veterans' Affairs Committee and a senior member of the Committee on Homeland Security, I rise in favor of H.R. 6328, the Clothe a Homeless Hero Act, which passed the House by voice vote last month and was approved by the Senate with an amendment.

According to estimates from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, in 2011 approximately 14 percent of all homeless adults were veterans, and with more than 67,000 veterans homeless on any given night. I know that you agree we must do all that we can to ensure that the veterans who have so courageously served our country are not forgotten and are receiving the care and services they deserve. VA Secretary Eric Shinseki has set a laudable goal of ending veterans' homelessness by 2015 and has established partnerships with other Federal agencies, such as HUD, to accomplish it.

The bill before us today will forge another important partnership in our efforts to serve homeless veterans, one with the Transportation Security Administration.

Each day as Americans travel through screening checkpoints, Mr. Speaker, operated by TSA at our Nation's airports, many articles of clothing are left behind. In fact, TSA reports that they collect between 500 and 1,000 garments per day. H.R. 6328 directs the TSA administrator to make every reasonable effort to donate this unclaimed clothing to local organizations that serve homeless or needy veterans.

I commend the House sponsor, Ms. Hochul, the gentlelady from New York, for this fine piece of legislation. I once again urge Members to support this legislation and in turn support homeless veterans.

I reserve the balance of my time.

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Mr. BILIRAKIS. Mr. Speaker, I urge Members to support this commonsense piece of legislation and that the President promptly sign it into law.

I yield back the balance of my time.

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