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Mr. MARKEY of Massachusetts. I thank the chair very much, and I thank him for his great work.
The poet Robert Browning once wrote, ``Grow old with me. The best is yet to be.'' Unfortunately, the golden years can be the worst years for Americans afflicted with Alzheimer's and their families. We have worked with the Senate to put together a bipartisan bill that has just passed here in the United States House of Representatives that I have worked on over the last 2 years that will put together an Alzheimer's plan, a battle plan for our country. And why is it important? I will tell you very simply: 4 million Americans have Alzheimer's today. There are going to be 12 million to 15 million baby boomers with Alzheimer's. They will have a spouse who also has the disease or some other family member. Somebody in the family has to take care of that person. So by the time all the baby boomers have retired, there will be about 25 million to 30 million Americans whose lives will revolve around Alzheimer's.
We have to find a cure for it. We have to find a way of giving more help to these heroes, these families.
My father was a milkman. My mother was a valedictorian. My mother got Alzheimer's. My father kept her in the living room. For 13 years, we kept her in our living room. My father always said that it was an honor that my mother had married him, the milkman. He also said that if the strength of your brain determined who got Alzheimer's, he said that he would have it and my mother would be taking care of him.
But this is an equal opportunity disease. It's an epidemic. If we do not find the cure, if we do not find the cure, the budget problems for our country will be so explosive that it will be impossible to ever balance the Federal budget.
We are now spending a fortune on it, and unless we cure it, we will never be able to deal with the catastrophic consequences personally, for those families, and for our country, in general.
I thank the gentleman for allowing me this personal privilege, because I was pulled away as the bill was being considered.
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