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Authorization of Major Medical Facility Project, Atlanta, Georgia

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC



Mr. BROUN of Georgia. Madam Speaker, as a young man, I came to believe that it was simply my duty as a citizen to serve in our Nation's Armed Forces. So, it was just a natural thing for me to volunteer for service back in the early 60s. I joined the Marines, later also served as a medical officer in the Navy, and finally took a billet in the Georgia Air National Guard.

My military experiences, I believe, helped make me a better man. It certainly gave me an understanding of military life, and first-hand knowledge of the needs facing military personnel, military families, and our veterans. Those insights guide me as the Congressman for Georgia's 10th Congressional District.

The Federal Government must fulfill its promises to our veterans. We must give them the very best quality health care that is available anywhere in this country. It's important not only to the current veterans but also to the troops that are on active duty today, as well as the volunteers that we need to recruit to serve their country in the military.

As a medical student in Augusta, GA, and during my residency training, I worked in a number of VA hospitals. This experience gives me a unique perspective toward the veterans' needs, which most Members of Congress are not privileged to have. Consequently I have a tremendous desire to get the Federal Government to fulfill the promises it has broken to our national heroes, the veterans. This bill is a step in that direction.

It is critical that the VA facilities in our Nation are modern, best equipped, and able to give the kind of care that our veterans deserve.

This bill will help to do that by giving veterans in Georgia and the Southeast a modem, up-to-date facility.

I am very sure that keeping the United States the freest Nation in the history of the world means that we must maintain the most powerful military on Earth.

As a member of Congress my priorities regarding military issues are these:

1. Provide our troops with the best training and the best technology.

2. Provide adequate compensation and benefits.

3. Do everything I can to help promote high morale and espirit de corps.

4. Support the spouses and children of military personnel.

5. Improve medical care for our wounded warriors and our veterans.

6. Keep the commitments made to our veterans regarding benefits.

I want to take just a moment of your time to provide you with an update on what I have done since I won the Special Election and was sworn into office last July:

1. Co-sponsored H.R. 3793 Veterans Guaranteed Bonus Act of 2007 requiring the secretary of Defense to continue to pay to a member of the armed forces who is retired or separated from the armed forces due to a combat-related injury certain bonuses that the member was entitled to before the retirement or separation and would continue to be entitled to if the member was not retired or separated.

2. Co-sponsored H.R. 1110 amending the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to allow federal civilian and military retirees to pay health insurance premiums on a pretax basis and to allow a deduction for TRICARE supplemental premiums.

3. Co-sponsored H. Res. 111 establishing a Select POW and MIA Affairs Committee.

4. Co-sponsored H.J. Res. 67 supporting a base defense budget that at the very minimum matches four percent of gross domestic product.

5. Co-sponsored H. Res. 784 recognizing and honoring, in community post offices, the service of men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces deployed overseas.

6. Co-sponsored H.R. 1808 designating the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Augusta, GA, as the `Charlie Norwood Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center.'

7. Supported and spoke in favor of this bill S. 1396 to authorize a major medical facility project to modernize inpatient wards at the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Atlanta, Georgia

I encourage all of my colleagues to support this bill as well as any future bills that will give veterans the kind of health care they deserve.

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