Janet's Conner

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Thursday, July 20, 2006

PELOSI CELEBRATES 75TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE DEPT. OF VETERANS AFFAIRS




Washington, D.C.---House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi joined Department of Veterans Affairs James Nicholson and House and Senate leaders at an event in the Rotanda of the U.S. Capitol honoring the 75th anniversary of the Department of Veterans Affairs. Below are Pelosi's remarks:

"The 75th anniversary of the Department of Veterans Affairs is a magnificent opportunity to salute our brave veterans and dedicated men and women who devote their careers to caring for them.

"I am disappointed that we could not be joined by Congressman Lane Evans today, the senior Democrat on the Veterans' Affairs Committee for a longtime and a proud Marine. The veterans have no better friend in Congress than Congressman Evans. He has been instrumental in securing compensation for veterans exposed to Agent Orange, spearheading investigations into Gulf War Syndrome, raising awareness about the health needs of veterans and service members, and fighting for the benefits our veterans have earned and deserved.

"I am pleased to see Congressman Chet Edwards here, who is the senior Democrat on the Appropriations subcommittee that funds issues relating to our military, their families, and veterans. He is a champion for them on that committee every single day that he serves in Congress.

"As Americans, we make a simple sacred promise to our veterans; you have taken care of us; we will take care of you. How we repay their service speaks volumes about our national character. What an honor it is for all of us that you are here. A veteran of World War I is here, how thrilling for us; I hope it is thrilling for you.

"I want to call to your attention as I make these acknowledgements something you may not be aware of. A couple of years ago, the Speaker and I had the privilege with other leaders in the Senate to dedicate the statue of President Dwight David Eisenhower in the Rotanda of the Capitol of the United States. I mention that because General Eisenhower is here today. And I say 'General' because it was decided he would be here in uniform, not as President of the United States, but as General Eisenhower. He is right in back of the room, and I know he would want us to keep our commitment to our troops. You have taken care of us; we will take care of you.

"We must see caring for our veterans as a continuation of the cost of war and maintaining peace. As Ronald Conley, a past National Commander of the American Legion, said: 'Money wasn't an issue when these men and women were called to duty, and it shouldn't be when it comes to repay them for their service.' Our veterans who fought on the battlefield for freedom and liberty should not have to fight their own government for the benefits they earned and deserve when they come home. We must fulfill our sacred obligations to those who have worn our nation's uniform with not just words, but with deeds.

"This means giving the VA the resources it needs. Those who care for our veterans at the VA are some of our nation's best and brightest minds. They are consistently on the cutting edge of new technologies. It is the dedicated staff at the VA that developed the cardiac pacemaker, performed the first liver transplant, and conducted the first successful drug treatments for high blood pressure and schizophrenia.

"I have seen firsthand and on a regular basis the work of the San Francisco VA Medical Center in my own district. They have long been on the forefront of AIDS research. They are now doing cutting edge research in the Center for the Imaging of Neurogenerative Diseases on Alzheimer's disease, post-traumatic stress disorder, Gulf War illness, Parkinson's disease and epilepsy. And I hope, Mr. Secretary, when you visit San Francisco soon, you will visit the Neurogenerative Disease Center at our VA medical center. You will be very proud.

"The reach of the VA is remarkably broad; about one in four Americans are potentially eligible for VA benefits and services because they are veterans, family members, or survivors of veterans. That underscores the importance of Congress working in a bipartisan way to ensure the VA, and consequently our veterans, have all the resources they need.

"Recently, I visited the Persian Gulf, visited our troops, and thanked them for their patriotism, their sacrifice, and their great courage. After that, when we had a question and answer period, every question they asked was about what was going to happen to them when they came home, how they would be treated as veterans. I told them what we say here all the time; on the battlefield, our soldiers pledge to leave no one behind. As a nation, it must be our pledge to leave no veteran behind when they come home.

"God blessed America with courage, patriotism, and sacrifices of our men and women in uniform. I am here on behalf of my constituents to say thank you, and thank you to the VA."


***What Nancy Pelosi had to say was very heartwarming and I am sure that she meant every word that she said. But she is a Democrat and the Democrats "do" care for the veterans. The Republicans don't. She mentioned that the VA has some of the greatest medical minds and that the VA is on the cutting edge of many medical breakthroughs. That may have been true when she gave this speech, but President Bush took most of that cutting edge knowledge away from the VA the second he vetoed stem-cell research yesterday. His first veto, ever! If he cared for our veterans, he would have never vetoed that research. Actions speak louder than words! Anyone who voted "no" for stem-cell research doesn't support our troops! Anybody! Republicans or Democrats!



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