'Republican DOD Bill Leaves Far Too Many Veterans Behind'
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:
I rise today to honor our commitment to our nations 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.
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.
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.
bill, in many respects, does not honor their service.
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.
this long-standing issue too hot to handle for the Republicans,
and they have offered a proposal, in todays 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.
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
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.
thing to do was obvious then, when the discharge petition was signed
-- sign and completely end the disabled veterans tax.
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.
language leaves two-thirds of our veterans behind. The Democratic
motion to recommit leaves no veteran behind.
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
my colleagues to honor our veterans' service and vote yes when the
opportunity comes for the motion to recommit."