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Providing for Consideration of H.R. 3043, Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act ...

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Location: Washington, DC


PROVIDING FOR CONSIDERATION OF H.R. 3043, DEPARTMENTS OF LABOR, HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, AND EDUCATION, AND RELATED AGENCIES APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2008 -- (House of Representatives - November 06, 2007)

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Mr. WELCH of Vermont. Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague from the Rules Committee.

If a gentle breeze were to come into this room and dispel the fog of rhetoric that we've been listening to, we'd understand and return to the basic proposition that's quite simple, and that is, the budget of the United States Congress reflects the priorities of the United States Congress.

And what will be debated and the substance before the House is whether on the Labor-HHS budget we will appropriate and spend 2 percent more than was recommended by the President of the United States. What will be debated and decided by this House of Representatives is whether we will approve and spend 4 percent more for military construction in overdue services to our veterans. It comes to you from Chairs of subcommittees who are operating under the tight restrictions of pay-as-you-go budgeting that has been adopted by this new Congress after it had been abandoned by the previous Congresses.

So what do the American people have to judge us by what we do? It's this: first, we will pay for everything on a pay-as-you-go basis; second, when the President says that we're spending more than he recommended on Labor-HHS and for our veterans, we plead guilty. We're paying for it, but we're doing it because we believe it's overdue and it's right.

Think about the lack of investment that has occurred as a result of the clear priorities of the administration approved by previous Congresses: all Iraq all of the time and impoverishing our domestic programs, even as Americans are struggling to make ends meet.

The Labor-HHS budget does a couple of things that are very straightforward. It makes a fundamental commitment in the National Institutes of Health. It increases LIHEAP funding, Low Income Heating Assistance Program. Is it needed? Oil is at $93 a gallon on a barrel.

And on the veterans budget, this Congress has made a fundamental decision, and it's very simple again. The cost of the war must include the cost of caring for the warrior.

Yes, it's true, this VA budget is the highest increase that we have had in the history of the VA. Why? It's because it is absolutely necessary to meet the obligation we have to the men and women in uniform.

We will have an opportunity to vote yes or no. We will have an opportunity to state explicitly and be judged by the American people as to what our priorities are, and the priorities we have are to begin to renew our commitment to our veterans and to renew our commitment to basic science and investment in the people of this country.

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