Ms. GABBARD. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor the service and sacrifice of the nearly 5,000 coalition troops, including 28 of my brothers and sisters from Hawaii, soldiers like First Lieutenant Nainoa Hoe of Kailua or Sergeant Deyson Cariaga from Honolulu, whom I had the honor of serving with, who paid the ultimate price during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Today marks the 10th anniversary of the American invasion of Iraq. And while this war has largely faded from the headlines, we must take every opportunity to learn from our experiences. There are many lessons we should learn, one of the most egregious being the serious waste, fraud, and abuse of taxpayer dollars, waste that was apparent to those of us on the ground as well as to outside experts. An alarming report this month by the special inspector general for Iraqi reconstruction also determined at least $8 billion of our reconstruction funds have been wasted.
In Congress today, we have an opportunity to learn from that lesson. We have to pursue commonsense ways to balance our budget without hurting our middle class families, endangering our national security, or shortchanging our veterans. We must focus on our mission to serve the people who sent us here and honor our servicemembers and their families who have made immeasurable sacrifices in the service of our country.