Ms. JACKSON LEE. Mr. Speaker, I rise in proud support, and as an original co-sponsor of H. Res. 384, which expresses the condolences of the House on the death and recognizes the extraordinary contributions to our nation of Congressman C.W. Bill Young of Florida, who died last Friday, October 25, 2013.
I thank the bipartisan leadership of the House and the Chair and Ranking Member of the Veterans Affairs Committee for working together to expedite the consideration of this fitting tribute to one of the most beloved members to serve in this body.
Mr. Speaker, H. Res. 384 recognizes the extraordinary contributions of Bill Young to public life in Florida and the United States. It is both fitting and proper that the People's House pay this tribute to a pioneering and path breaking man who devoted his life to serving the people.
Mr. Speaker, this happy moment stands in stark contrast to the sorrowful evening of October 18, 2013, when we learned that our dear friend and colleague, the great Bill Young, had lost his life.
Mr. Speaker, Bill Young was more than a great legislator. He was a good man.
Virtually every member who served with Bill has a story about how the gentleman from Florida lent his ear or helping hand to help advance a critical project or further a legislative priority. I am no exception.
Earlier this year, Chairman Young worked with me to win inclusion in H.R. 1960, the National Defense Authorization Act, of my amendment providing increased funding and support for medical research related to Triple Negative Breast Cancer. Chairman Young also helped me to $10 million in increased funding to support work to assist service members suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorders (PTSD). This act of kindness on the part of Bill Young is changing lives in my congressional district, which is home to one of the nation's largest concentrations of veterans suffering from PTSD. Bill's compassion for our veterans and his colleagues knew no limits.
Bill Young was born December 16, 1930 in Harmarville, Pennsylvania. A flood washed away his home at age 6 where he lived with his single mother. An uncle had a hunting camp in Florida, so the family moved there when he was 16. Young dropped out of St. Petersburg High School to support his ill mother, Wilma M. (Hulings). He joined the Army National Guard and served from 1948 to 1957.
In 1960 Young was elected to the Florida Senate, where he served from 1961 to 1970, and was minority leader in that chamber from 1966 to 1970. Until 1963, Young was the only Republican Senator in Florida.
From 1999-2005, Congressman Young served as Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, overseeing the entire federal discretionary budget. In fact, the last time the United States had a balanced federal budget was under his Chairmanship.
Throughout his service on the Appropriations Committee, Young has been dedicated to improving the quality of life of the men and women who serve and who have served in the military. He regularly met with enlisted personnel and officers to assess their needs, and as a result, Congress has invested in improved base housing, better medical care, increased pay, and more modern equipment for the military.
Young has also been a leading advocate for increased biomedical research. During his Chairmanship of the Appropriations Committee, he successfully led the effort in Congress to double federal medical research funding over five years. He has likewise led the fight for federal funding for a variety of medical issues, including an increased immunization rate for preschoolers, improved public health programs nationwide, and cures for Parkinson's and Alzheimer's Diseases.
Throughout his career of public service, Young has been a strong advocate for the needs of Pinellas County. Among other issues, he has worked to ease congestion along U.S. Highway 19; attract high-tech jobs to St. Petersburg; improve health care for low-income children and families; protect the neighboring MacDill Air Force Base; build a state of the art medical center for veterans at Bay Pines; ensure a steady supply of water for the Tampa Bay area; and offset the effects of erosion on the area's beaches.
For nearly two weeks Young had been hospitalized with back problems that stemmed from a 1970 small plane crash. Despite the circumstances, Congressman Young vowed to beat his illness and battled valiantly until the very last day, when he finished his journey on earth and ascended to the heavens.
Congressman Young was the longest serving Republican member of the House and respected by all who knew him. He served over 50 years in public office and worked with 8 presidents of the United States. His presence will be forever missed and we all mourn his loss and extend our deepest sympathies to his family and friends.
None of us who knew and admired Bill Young will ever forget him or the way he brightened the lives of all the people he served. He was one in a million and he will be deeply missed. He will never be replaced. He was an American original. He was my friend.