Majority Leader Hoyer Statement on Change of Leadership at Walter Reed Army Medical Center

For Immediate Release:

March 1, 2007

Contact:Stacey Farnen Bernards
202-225-3130

WASHINGTON, DC - Majority Leader Hoyer released the following statement today on news reports of the poor conditions at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and the removal of Walter Reed's Commanding General this morning:

"Members of Congress and the American people are deeply disappointed and justifiably concerned about the deplorable conditions that wounded American service men and women have been forced to endure upon returning from combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Those who sustain life-altering injuries while answering our nation's highest calling deserve our full support and the best treatment that money can buy.

"Despite all of the Republicans' rhetoric about supporting our troops, it is clear that our government is failing the soldiers it is our solemn duty to protect.  And recent news of the shockingly inadequate treatment offered at Walter Reed Medical Center - which in years past has provided a shining example of the quality care that America owes its wounded veterans - is proof positive that our government needs to step up and take immediate action to remedy a situation that is nothing short of a national embarrassment.

"I am encouraged to see that - for the first time since the Global War on Terror began - someone in government is being held accountable for mistakes that endanger our troops and damage our national security.  By relieving Walter Reed's Commanding General this morning, the Department of Defense has taken an important first step, but there is still more work to be done in order to ensure that we care for our veterans properly.

"I am hopeful that in the coming weeks, the People's House will act on legislation introduced by Congressman Harry Mitchell that would "ensure dignity in care for members of the Armed Forces recovering from injuries."  In my estimation, the United States Congress has a moral obligation to put this legislation on the President's desk as soon as possible.

"And I am also hopeful that Congress will not enact into law the massive cuts to veterans' health care called for in the President's budget submission.  These cuts are reckless at worst and irresponsible at best, and they fail to reflect the priorities of a nation that is grateful for the sacrifices our soldiers make.

"America's fighting men and women, whether they are deployed in the field or recovering from injuries here at home, should always be able to count on the full support of their government.  They have fulfilled their duties bravely and honorably - and they deserve nothing less than treatment and care that is commensurate with the heroic deeds they undertake."

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