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Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2013

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. CULBERSON. Mr. Speaker, this is not an amendment to the bill. This is a procedural stunt, a motion to recommit that the public and the Members should not be confused about. This is a last-minute, a very sad, I think, and shallow and disappointing political stunt that the Members of the minority--this bill, more than any other--Mr. Speaker, the House is not in order.

The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman is correct. The House will be in order.

Mr. CULBERSON. Mr. Speaker, our subcommittee, Sanford Bishop, your colleague from Georgia, our entire subcommittee has worked arm in arm since early this year, held numerous hearings, sought testimony from every organization, from the Veterans Administration--from any veterans organization. We have all worked arm in arm in producing a piece of legislation tonight that fully funds every need of every veteran and every active-duty military member of the United States anywhere in the world. We've funded every request. We've met every need. We've left no gap unfilled. In fact, not only during the committee process, but also tonight. We've been on the floor from 4:30 until 8 o'clock. Anyone could have come to the floor and offered an amendment. Frankly, you could have walked down and drafted it right here on a yellow notepad and given it to the Clerk and offered an amendment at any time.

So this is not an amendment. This is a procedural stunt. It's disappointing and disheartening to see it offered at the last minute when we, on this subcommittee, more than any other subcommittee, have worked arm in arm in an absolutely bipartisan way in support of our troops.

It is important for the Members to know that our committee has fully funded the request of the Veterans Administration. We've given them everything that they needed, that they asked for--$583 million for medical and prosthetic research. We've increased funding for the VA by $2.3 billion to make sure that the needs of our veterans are met. We have increased Veterans Administration research by almost $1.9 billion. And we have, throughout this entire appropriations season, been open to any Member at any time to bring us any good idea on any subject that would help our veterans.

So this is not an amendment. This is a procedural motion that has nothing to do with the merits of the bill. In fact, I want to stress to my colleagues that during conference, if the Veterans Administration, if anyone can demonstrate to Mr. Bishop and me and to the subcommittee that there is a valid need, a demonstrable need that the VA comes to us and says, Yes, we need additional money for more research, of course we'll find room for it.

There is no gap between any of us on this House floor when it comes to supporting the needs of our men and women in uniform. We on this committee, more than any other, have worked together in a bipartisan fashion.

I urge the Members to reject this last-minute procedural motion to recommit. We will work together in conference if there is truly any additional need for funding, but Members, we have left no gap unfilled when it comes to our men and women in uniform, and I urge the Members to vote ``no.''


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