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Public Statements

Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2008

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

SUPPLEMENTAL APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2008 -- (House of Representatives - May 15, 2008)


Mr. FILNER. I hear my colleagues on the other side talking about political games and partisanship and process. The GI Bill of 1944 made the middle class of this Nation. Many of us are here today because of the GI Bill. My dad came back from World War II and was able to get some education, but he bought a house in Levittown, New York, for a couple grand, and we became part of the middle class for the first time in our history.

It's time for a GI Bill for the 21st century, and that's what this supplemental has. It says to our young men and women who are fighting, We're going to pay for the full cost of college for 4 years when you get back; we're going to take care of some of the living expenses if you have a family, and we're going to put the National Guard and Reserve that are doing so much of the fighting in Iraq as eligible for most of the benefits for the GI Bill. That's what we need in the supplemental.

We have a supplemental for the war. We need a supplemental for the warrior. The fact the first year, 2 years of this bill for the GI Bill was paid for, we spent the same amount in 2 days of the war in Iraq. This is a reasonable amount of money to spend on those who have given us so much.

General Washington said over 220 years ago, The single most important factor in the morale of our fighting troops is a sense of how they're going to be treated when they come home. When they come home, many of them with amputations, many of them with psychological wounds, we want to say we're going to make sure we take care of you, we're going to make sure you get some college education, we're going to make sure that you can take a part of the American dream. That's what we owe our soldiers. That's what we owe our Reserve and National Guard, and that's what this supplemental has.

I don't care. You can talk about partisanship and political games. We're talking about the welfare of these young men and women who have given so much. Let's give them a part of the American Dream.


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