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WASHINGTON, DC – House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement today after the House overwhelmingly passed the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Bill for Fiscal Year 2008 by a vote of 409 to 2:
“The measure of a great nation is not just how much it spends to defend freedom, but whether it tends to freedom’s defenders once they have returned from battle. Our commitment to this nation’s veterans is a solemn affirmation of their service and sacrifice for us. It is a promise that we must keep.
“Today, I want to congratulate the Subcommittee Chairman, Mr. Edwards of Texas, for producing this legislation, which honors the service of our nation’s veterans and builds a future worthy of their sacrifice.
“This Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Bill increases the VA budget by $6.7 billion above the Fiscal Year 2007 level, the largest increase in the 77-year history of the Department of Veterans Affairs and $3.8 billion above the President’s request. This funding will ensure quality health care for 5.8 million patients, including about 263,000 veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan.
“This bill also will allow us to hire more qualified doctors and nurses to improve medical services to our veterans, reduce waiting times for medical appointments, and provide additional assistance for veterans suffering from traumatic brain injury, post traumatic stress disorder, mental health issues, and lost limbs. Furthermore, this legislation will allow us to conduct critical maintenance at VA health care facilities to prevent another Walter Reed-type scandal from occurring.
“The new Democratic Majority in the House is committed to providing our veterans with the care and services they deserve after they have sacrificed for us.”