NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT FOR FISCAL YEAR 2009--Continued -- (Senate - September 16, 2008)
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Mr. WARNER. Mr. President, this will be one of the most difficult votes that I will have had to cast in my almost 30 years in the Senate. I must say to my dear friend, the chairman of the committee, we have worked together these years and we just made our last efforts in the cloakroom to try and bridge the gap--I respect both sides--bridge the gap. We failed, and now we are confronted with cloture. I then searched my conscience: What do I do? Because I am definitely more than sympathetic, completely in support that the minority has to have certain rights and a certain ability. That is the way this institution is constructed.
I shall vote for cloture for the following reason: I ran a quick mental calculation. It was 63 years ago, in January of 1945, that I joined the U.S. Navy. If I had to point to the one single thing in my some 40 years plus of public service that has meant the most to me personally, it is working with and learning from the men and women of the Armed Forces of the United States. My military career on active duty is of no great consequence, but my learning experience was enormous, and I have tried through these 30 years in the Senate to pay back to this generation and future generations of men and women all the wonderful things, including two GI bills, that were done for me.
So I could not have this, being almost the last vote that I will cast in these 30 years, in any other way than be consistent with my conscience, as I have tried to do the best, and will continue to do the best, on behalf of the men and women of the Armed Forces and their families.
I thank my colleagues.