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Public Statements

Veterans Benefits Continuing Appropriations Resolution, 2014

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. BENTIVOLIO. Mr. Speaker, I thank the chairman.

Today I was reminded just how our Nation is made up of the people, not the government.

Just a few hours ago, dozens of World War II veterans, in an act of civil disobedience, defied the President's closure of the World War II Memorial on the Washington Mall and celebrated their historic defense against tyranny so many decades ago.

Mr. Speaker, I believe that this shutdown could be a learning experience for both everyone in this Chamber and the people of the country. It allows us to determine what is essential and what isn't, what government should do and what it shouldn't.

When I first arrived here in Washington, I wrote an op-ed in my local newspaper, laying out some obvious budgetary reforms. One of them was to make every department justify its spending on the floor of the House. The Department of Veterans Affairs could easily do that. Currently, the VA is not shut down completely. But the time is soon coming where our former servicemembers will not be able to receive the benefits they earned fighting to defend our freedom.

Because of the Democratic Senate's inability to compromise, services to our veterans will be impacted if we don't do the right thing. In the military, we don't leave people behind on the battlefield. We shouldn't do that at home either. Surely my friends on the other side of the aisle do not believe that the Democratic Senate should hold our veterans hostage as we negotiate the CR. The people helped by the VA are American heroes. Let's not leave them behind.

I urge my colleagues to pass this important legislation.

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