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Opening Statement of Hon. Corrine Brown, a Representative in Congress from the State of Florida (STATEMENT FOR RECORD)

Thank you for holding this hearing today, Mr. Chairman.

Thank you also, Secretary Nicholson, for your service to this country and to our veterans.

When I heard of your resignation, I was disappointed because I felt that you finally were getting the hang of this job and were starting to do good work.

I think we can agree that the young men and women serving in Iraq, Afghanistan, and around the world are the heroes fulfilling the mission we here in Washington have given them. 

I recently had a chance to go to Normandy and visit the cemetery and battlefields there.  A very awe-inspiring sight.  There is a new visitors center that was just finished.  It explains the entire battle and the heroism of those who served in horrible conditions.

The organization that oversees all foreign American battlefields is The American Battle Monuments Commission.  It is a small independent agency in the Executive Branch of the United States federal government.  Funded by the President, in his budget.

If the President can see that it is worth including in the budget full funding to honor those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom, why can he not include full funding for those veterans who are here and bear the scars of those same wars.

When it comes to increased spending on the priorities of these veterans, his knee-jerk reaction is to threaten a veto.  After he heard these veterans loud and clear, he rescinded his threat to veto, but continues to urge less funding the bill. 

The cost of war includes the veterans who return.