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Public Statements

Veterans' Benefits Enhancement Act of 2007

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

VETERANS' BENEFITS ENHANCEMENT ACT OF 2007 -- (Senate - April 24, 2008)


Mrs. CLINTON. Mr. President, I rise today in support of providing benefits to Filipino veterans who served our Nation during World War II. S. 1315, the Veterans' Benefits Enhancement Act of 2007 introduced by Senator Akaka, specifically includes a provision that would restore health and pension benefits to Filipino veterans who fought for the United States during World War II. This provision is based on S.57, the Filipino Veterans Equity Act of 2007 originally introduced by Senator Inouye and which I am proud to cosponsor. I have supported rectifying this injustice since I entered the Senate in 2001.

Senator Burr's amendment would strip the provision benefitting Filipino veterans from S. 1315. I strongly oppose this amendment.

In 1942, President Roosevelt issued an order conscripting Filipino soldiers into the U.S. Armed Forces. More than 250,000 Filipino soldiers joined the U.S. Armed Forces in the months before and days following the attack on Pearl Harbor. These men served on the battlefield and fought courageously alongside American soldiers throughout World War II, took part in the guerilla resistance, and suffered in prisoner-of-war camps including the infamous Bataan Death March in which untold numbers of Americans and Filipinos soldiers suffered and died under brutal conditions.

The United States promised these Filipino veterans the same health and pension benefits as those of American servicemembers, but after World War II ended, Congress passed the Rescission Act of 1946, rescinding benefits that the Filipino soldiers were entitled to receive as U.S. veterans. Since then, these veterans have been fighting for these benefits which were unjustly revoked by the 1946 Rescission Act.

I reiterate the statements I made recently in honor of the 66th anniversary of the Bataan Death March that this is a matter of restoring the honor and dignity of these courageous veterans. I will continue to support and fight for the Filipino veterans equity bill.


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