Continuing Appropriationsby Senator Thad Cochran
Posted on 2013-10-01
COCHRAN. Mr. President, I regret also we are now experiencing a
partial shutdown of our Federal Government. Through no fault of their
own, some citizens who are visiting Washington are also being denied
government services and access to memorials that their tax dollars
support. I hope we can soon eliminate any inconvenience that is being
caused by this shutdown for visitors and citizens who planned trips
into our Nation's Capital.
The effects of the shutdown are real and they are being felt in practical ways, well beyond the Nation's Capital. But certainly here in Washington we witnessed an example of the unintended and sometimes absurd consequences of the Congress and the President's inability to reach an agreement.
Today, for example, a large group of World War II veterans from my State of Mississippi caught an early flight from Gulfport to Washington as part of the Honor Flight program. These flights allow veterans who might not have the ability to come here on their own to visit the national World War II Memorial that was built to honor their brave service--service that saved the world from some of the greatest evils ever known. Confronted with barricades, however, that were erected this morning around the open-air memorial, as a part of the shutting down of the Federal Government, the citizens from my State carefully removed the barriers and made a path so they were able to walk on to the memorial and lay a wreath beneath the memorial's Mississippi column.
I am very pleased the visit of these veterans to Washington was not ruined by the government shutdown, even though there were some obstacles. But I hope their experience reminds all of us--Federal agencies, Members of Congress, and others who live here in the Nation's Capital--to not make this situation more difficult than it has to be for veterans or other visitors who are coming to the city. For some this may be the only time in their life they will be able to do that.
So I take this opportunity to thank the veterans from our State for their calm, cool, and collected demeanor during what could have been a frustrating experience, and I salute all veterans for their service to our Nation and the access they have even on a day where the agencies are ``closed.'' There are certain premises that should remain open and available for visitation and visibility.
I thank the Honor Flight volunteers for their calm, cool, and collected demeanor and their support for the freedoms of our country. I am sure they will all receive a very warm welcome tonight when they return home to Gulfport.
Mr. President, I yield the floor.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Rhode Island.