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Opening Statement of Hon. Corrine Brown, a Representative in Congress from the State of Florida

I want to thank the groups coming today to share their legislative priorities at the beginning of the session, so we can work on them all year and GET THINGS DONE!

I am pleased of all the Floridians who have made the trek to Washington, bringing all this beautiful weather with them.

I want to crow a little about what the Democrats have done in only 90 days.  Since the Democrats have assumed the leadership of the House of Representatives, we have increased veterans funding by $13.7 billion.

This is above President Bush’s budget, above Fiscal Year 2007 appropriations and including the Supplemental Appropriations bill passed last week.

Yesterday, the House passed the Wounded Warriors bill, to begin to fix the problems brought to light at Walter Reed and other military and veteran hospitals.

I have to tell you, when I first heard of the problems at Walter Reed, I thought “Well, there is no way what he was describing could be happening at one of our military facilities.”

Unfortunately it could and it is.

I did not vote for this war.  The military is doing the job they were sent to do.  There was a flaw in the mission from the beginning.  And the flaw lies with us.

American Soldiers have performed admirably under very trying conditions.  Conditions they were not trained for and conditions they should not be in.

Our soldiers deserve better when they get back.

I am reminded of the words of the first President of the United States, George Washington, whose words are worth repeating at this time:

"The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional as to how they perceive the veterans of earlier wars were treated and appreciated by their country."

Thank you for your service.