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Opening Statement of Hon. Silvestre Reyes, a Representative in Congress from the State of Texas

Thank you Madam Chair and thank all of you for coming here today to talk about this issue that is plaguing our veteran community.  It seems like every time we talk about this issue, the problem is getting worse and not better.  The fact that there are nearly 950 suicide attempts per month by our brave men and woman who have served this country is more than just a problem.  It is a crisis.

If I remember correctly, in 2006 that is about half the number of attacks our service members endured a month in Iraq.  Our soldiers, enabled by congressional action, found a way to reverse that trend.  All they needed was the right tools like mine resistant vehicles and upgraded body armor to do their job and defeat the enemy.  We were able to get that equipment to them at a pace most people didn’t think was possible.

What we need to do now is identify what tools these veterans need to fight the enemy within.  So please help us figure out what we need to do to protect those who have protected us, and we will do our part to ensure they get it as soon as possible.