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Public Statements

C.W. Bill Young Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. MILLER of Florida. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members have 5 legislative days in which to revise and extend their remarks and include any extraneous material they may have on H.R. 3302.

The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from Florida?

There was no objection.

Mr. MILLER of Florida. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Today is bittersweet as we mark both the passing of a congressional stalwart, Chairman C.W. Bill Young, and pay a fitting tribute by naming the Bay Pines Veterans Medical Center in his honor.

Mr. Speaker, while the raw numbers themselves may speak volumes for his dedication to America, it is his personal qualities that I admire the most. When I came to Congress in 2001, Bill Young was one of the first Members that welcomed me here. It was on this floor, in this Chamber, that Bill Young introduced me to the Members of this House the night I was sworn in. Since then, I came to regard him not only as a mentor or a colleague but, more importantly, a personal friend.

Chairman Young served the 13th District of Florida and the people of the United States for over 42 years. He was the senior member of the Florida congressional delegation and was the senior Republican in both the House and in the Senate. Counting his years in the Florida Legislature, Bill Young served over 50 years in public service and worked with eight Presidents.

Bill will be most remembered for his devotion to America's defense and especially to the men and the women in the Armed Forces. Having served in uniform for 15 years as a member of the National Guard and Reserves, Bill was the go-to guy on defense issues here in the House. He dedicated his legislative and personal energies to improve the quality of life for the men and the women who serve; and, as a result, those who wear the uniform and face our foes have improved base housing, better medical care, increased pay, and the best equipment.

Members know Bill best for his work as chairman of the House Appropriations Committee from 1999 to 2005, and he continued to serve as chairman of the Subcommittee on Defense until the time of his passing. But Bill Young was much more than a defense expert. He had also been a leading advocate for increased medical research.

Bill worked to double Federal medical research funding and funding to increase immunization rates for preschoolers, to improve public health programs, and to find cures for Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases. Just one example, the C.W. Bill Young Marrow Donor Recruitment and Research program registry lists more than 9 million volunteer donors for patients with leukemia and other life-threatening diseases. That simple list has provided the gift of life to more than 50,000 individuals.

To completely describe the contributions of a man who served in this body for over 42 years would take hours. So with that, Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the entire Florida delegation and all those who knew and served with him in this House and in the other body, I offer our most sincere condolences to his wife, Beverly, and his sons Rob, Billy, and Patrick. He was your husband and father. To us, Bill was a friend we will miss dearly.

Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.

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Mr. MILLER of Florida. Mr. Speaker, tonight I want to thank all the Members on both sides of the aisle for their kind words they have said of our friend from Florida, Bill Young. I sincerely hope that the words give Beverly, Rob, Billy, and Patrick some measure of consolation.

While we will no longer have BILL's personal and wise counsel to go to, that beautiful veterans medical center will bear his name. It will give witness--witness to his many years of service to America and her defenders.

I want to thank my good friend from Florida (Ms. Brown) for her help in bringing this bill to the floor and the over 375 cosponsors that we have brought on this piece of legislation.

I respectfully ask all Members to join us in supporting this piece of legislation, H.R. 3302, and I yield back the balance of my time.

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