Statements on Introduced Bills and Joint Resolutionsby Senator Richard Blumenthal
Posted on 2014-01-16
BLUMENTHAL. Mr. President, I want to start by thanking Chairman
Sanders of the Veterans' Affairs Committee, where I serve, for his
extraordinary vision and leadership and join him in thanking the
majority leader for his commitment to this kind of comprehensive and
aggressive approach to revise and reinvigorate, reinvent and reform,
veterans programs in a comprehensive and overarching approach.
I will be speaking at greater length in the days and weeks to come, but I want to join the Senator in committing all of us--I hope on a bipartisan basis--to this effort to fix the flaws and fulfill the vision this Nation owes to the men and women who have served and sacrificed year after year.
This program recognizes a fundamental truth: We are dealing with different populations of different ages, and within those populations, people with different needs and challenges, and a comprehensive program is necessary to address the obligation. It is an obligation we owe them to make sure that we leave no veteran behind and keep faith with every man and woman who has served and sacrificed for this Nation.
It fixes the flaws of the last budget agreement that reduced the cost-of-living adjustment on retirees' pensions. It commits the Nation to economic opportunity and real jobs--training for the jobs that exist now and the jobs of the future. It reforms loan and aid programs for college education and also for noncollege education.
It addresses the gaps in health care, not just by promising but performing. And, of course, it will also necessarily help veterans who may be preyed upon by schemes and scams, legal or illegal, and that is a very desperate and challenging need for this Nation to address, and hopefully it will do so on a bipartisan basis.
There should be no reason and no justification for opposing an effort that is paid for--and I stress paid for. My hope is we will have bipartisan support for this visionary and courageous measure that says to America's veterans: We will keep faith with you. We will leave no veteran behind.
One of the first promises I made 3 years ago in the first speech I gave on the floor of this Chamber was I would work and fight aggressively for the veterans of this Nation. I intend to work for this program--work to improve it--and continue to listen to the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Vietnam Veterans of America, the American Legion, and all of the groups that represent our veterans so ably, and speak for them. The voices and faces of Connecticut's veterans have been with me always, and I see them always when I return. I will work tirelessly for this program.
Again, my thanks to all of the members of the Veterans' Affairs Committee who will be supporting this program, and to our chairman Senator Sanders for his great leadership.