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Letter to Commanders of Leading Veterans and Military Service Organizations

Location: Washington, DC

Letter to Commanders of Leading Veterans and Military Service Organizations

May 12, 2006

Thomas L. Bock

National Commander, The American Legion

James R. Mueller

Commander-in-Chief, Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S.

Edward W. Kemp

National Commander, AMVETS

Paul W. Jackson

National Commander, Disabled American Veterans

Dear Commanders:

Thank you and the members of your organizations for your efforts to reinstate the joint Veterans Committee legislative hearings. As you know, House Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Steve Buyer unilaterally and misguidedly terminated these hearings this year.

These long-standing joint hearings provide a vital forum to review the legislative priorities of veterans and military service organizations and allow veterans to directly express their views and interact with Congress. Chairman Buyer's decision, made without even consulting the House Veterans Affairs Committee Ranking Member Lane Evans, fails to comprehend the impact such a decision will have on the veterans' community, which uses these hearings to fight for and protect the interests of the brave men and women who have defended our freedom. Specifically, the joint hearings allow veterans and military service organizations to directly present both timely budgetary and legislative recommendations.

Commanders, please be assured my commitment to our troops, veterans, and military families is strong and lasting. Indeed, in addition to holding many veterans and military issue-focused roundtable discussions, I will encourage Chairman Buyer to reverse his decision ending the joint hearings. Moreover, if given the opportunity to lead the House of Representatives, one of the first orders of business of the Democratic Caucus will be to reinstate the joint hearings and begin anew the valuable dialogue that occurs during these events.

Thank you for your service to our nation. I look forward to working with you to provide our troops, veterans, and military families the benefits and health care they have earned and deserve.



Democratic Leader

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