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Opening Statement of The Honorable Corrine Brown, Minority Member

Rep. Corrine Brown
House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs
 “Effect of Government Shutdown on VA Benefits and Services to Veterans.”
Wednesday, October 9, 2013 at 10:30AM
334 Cannon House Office Building

 

Thank you, Chairman Miller and Ranking Member Michaud, for calling this hearing today. 

Thank you, Secretary Shinseki, for briefing us today on the effect on Veterans by this Republican Government Shutdown.

We are currently in Day 9 of the Republican Government Shutdown.  There is no end in sight and now the full faith and credit of the United States is being put at risk regarding the debt limit needing to be increased.

I want to thank the Secretary for coming here today to brief this committee on how this Republican Government Shutdown will affect our nations veterans.

However, it seems as though the Republican Majority has lost the focus of this issue:  there would be no effect on veterans, claims would still be filed, veterans would still be receiving the services they spilled their blood for if this Congress would just do its job and pass a clean funding bill for the federal government. 

House Republicans continue to drag out this damaging shutdown by voting a cynical, piecemeal approach to funding government. This is no way to govern and no way to run the largest economy in the world. It’s time for House Republicans to drop the political games and join Democrats to bring a vote to the floor immediately to end the shutdown and get our government working again for the American people.

Even the mini-veterans appropriations bill would not have fully funded the VA. 

I am appalled that the House considered a bill that only partially funded the Department of Veterans Affairs, to take one small portion of the budget to help those men and women who have sacrificed so much and use it as a club to hammer the American people over the head while you argue about the Republican Government Shutdown.

The House has not considered funding:

  • the National Cemetery Administration
  • the Office in charge of Construction of VA facilities
  • Office of Inspector General
  • Grants to state veterans homes
  • Grants to state cemeteries

We need to stop this charade and fund the entirety of veterans programs, no matter what department they are funded out of.