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Before the House and senate committee on veterans' affairs regarding vva legislative agenda policy initiatives

March 8, 2007

On behalf of the members and families of Vietnam Veterans of America, I want to thank you for what you do for all of us.  Because without your interest and your concern, without the laws you write, without the funding you recommend and push to be appropriated for veterans’ affairs, veterans would not be a priority, and many more of us would fall by the wayside, used and discarded.

Indeed, you and your colleagues are to be commended for living up to promises made:  Even though government operations are being funded via continuing resolution for the duration of the current fiscal year, funding for veterans’ health care is being increased by some $3.6 billion.  This is necessary.  This is vital.  This is the right thing to do.

Of course, without sufficient funding, the needs of veterans will not be met.  Without sufficient funding, research projects that illuminate the ravages of toxic exposures, the debilitating effects of Traumatic Brain Injury – a signature wound of the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan – and the continuing need for improved prosthetic limbs, will not happen.  Without sufficient funding, the plight of veterans who sleep in shelters or on air vent grates at night will not be addressed.  Without sufficient funding, efforts to recover the remains of America’s POW/MIAs will wane.  And please note here that the fullest possible accounting of the fate of our POW/MIAs has long been VVA’s top priority.

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