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

I want to thank Chairman Miller and Ranking Member Filner for holding this hearing to allow the DAV to present its legislative agenda.

I want to begin with acknowledging the attendance of those from Florida who have made the trip from the state with one of the largest veteran populations:

Al Linden Past National Commander/Department Adjutant

Charles Hieney

Phil Condon

Frank Chicollo

David Tannenbaum

Brian Moore

Larry Kyser

Frank Plescia

Patti Cocilovo

Richard Tolfa

Guy Diffenbaugh

Ken Wolfe Retired National Service Director

Art Wilson National Adjutant

And especially John Markiewicz, the Florida State Commander from my district.

It is important we hear from the leaders of the Veteran Service Organizations when they are in town. 

With their input, we learn what those living with VA care every day need.

The Independent Budget is the blueprint which the Veterans Affairs budget should be based, not the other way around.

Every year Amvets, Disabled American Veterans, Paralyzed Veterans of America and the Veterans of Foreign Wars get together to write the bible of the Veterans budget. 

I was pleased to be able to give the VA the largest increase in the history of Department of Veterans Affairs.

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 being here today to remind those of us up here in Washington what is important.