From the Office of Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi

Pelosi: 'Republican DOD Bill Leaves Far Too Many Veterans Behind'

November 7, 2003

Washington, D.C. -- House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi spoke this morning on the House floor in favor of a Democratic motion sponsored by Congressman Jim Marshall (D-Georgia) to end completely the disabled veterans tax as part of the Defense Authorization Act. Only four Republicans supported the motion even though 160 Republicans co-sponsor an identical bill. The motion failed by a vote of 188 to 217. The following are the remarks Pelosi made on the floor:

"Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor our commitment to our nation’s veterans. No group of Americans has stood stronger and braver for our nation than our troops and our veterans. From the bitter cold winter at Valley Forge to the boiling hot Iraqi terrain, our soldiers have courageously answered when called, gone where ordered, and defended our nation with honor.

"As a nation, we have a sacred pact with all those who served us in uniform. You have always taken care of us. In return, we will always take care of you. That is our solemn pledge.

"Today, just before Veterans Day, we stand on the floor of the House of Representatives preparing to vote on the Department of Defense Authorization Conference Report. And, on this day, we have young men and women, the sons and daughters of America, on the ground, engaged in war in Iraq. We salute them for the courage, their patriotism, and the sacrifice they are willing to make for our country.

"But this bill, in many respects, does not honor their service.

"Democrats are fighting to live up to our promise to our veterans by ending the unfair practice of the disabled veterans tax. Mr. Marshall of Georgia will be offering a motion to recommit to this effect. He is leading our fight for a complete and total repeal of the disabled veterans tax for all of our veterans.

"We made this long-standing issue too hot to handle for the Republicans, and they have offered a proposal, in today’s conference report, in response. Their proposal is a step, but it is not nearly good enough. The Republicans have put forward a proposal that leaves far too many veterans behind. Under the Republican proposal, two-thirds of our veterans still will not receive one penny of compensation for their disabilities.

"The Republican deal will address the tax for some veterans, but not for others. For the select few it does address, the tax may not fully end for 10 years. Many of these are veterans of World War II. Ten years is a long time to wait in any event, especially if you are a World War II vet. That is not good enough. America's veterans deserve better.

"On the battlefields of war, our soldiers pledge to leave no one behind. As a nation it must be our pledge that, after our soldiers come home, we will leave no veteran behind. Our veterans served for all of us. We must be there for all of them.

"In June, Democrats launched a discharge petition to give Members a chance to vote to end completely the disabled veterans tax for all military retirees. 203 Members, 201 Democrats only two Republicans, signed the discharge petition including, despite the fact that 160 Republicans had co-sponsored the bill. So we know that our Republican colleagues believe that this is the right course of action. Democrats are giving you a way to honor your own commitment.

"The right thing to do was obvious then, when the discharge petition was signed -- sign and completely end the disabled veterans tax.

"The right thing to do today, just before Veterans Day, is also obvious -- vote to recommit this bill with instructions to strip out the failed Republican language on the disabled veterans tax and add the Democratic language to completely and totally end the disabled veterans tax. Indeed, this language is the language of Representative Bilirakis, a distinguished member of the Republican caucus.

"The current language leaves two-thirds of our veterans behind. The Democratic motion to recommit leaves no veteran behind.

"We have a moral obligation to those who have paid the high price for our freedom -- those who have worn our nation's uniform. Our words must be as bold as their deeds. And we must honor what they have done for our country. So lets give a great gift to our veterans on this Veterans Day.

"I urge my colleagues to honor our veterans' service and vote yes when the opportunity comes for the motion to recommit."




Current Presss Releases
2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003
2002 | 2001 | 2000 | 1999 | 1998 | 1997 | 1996