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Congressman Rohrabacher's Floor Speech on H. Res. 1016

Sep 26, 2006
Floor Speeches

Washington, Sep 26, 2006 - Mr. ROHRABACHER. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of my resolution, H. Res. 1016. I would like to thank Mr. Ehlers for his help in support of this bill, as well as Mr. Brady and Members on both sides of the aisle. It has taken considerable time and effort to get this bill to the floor, and I appreciate their help in bringing this matter tonight and making sure we get this done before the end of the session.

Mr. Speaker, the war in Iraq and Afghanistan is being fought by American military personnel; and, as we know, many of them have been killed or wounded. In fact, there have been 21,263 wounded American military personnel during this conflict in Afghanistan and Iraq. That includes 468 amputees.

To better illustrate that point, imagine every Member of this House plus 33 others have been wounded in Iraq or Afghanistan and that the wounds were serious enough to require amputation, and sometimes that meant amputating more than one limb. It is hard to comprehend the level of sacrifice and the recovery from such a loss.

These brave warriors and their families must learn an entirely new way of life. Sometimes readjusting, finding one's place is as traumatic and as hurtful as the wound itself. Many of them worry about how they will work and what kind of life they can provide for themselves and for their families.

My resolution, H. Res. 1016, will enable us, Members of the United States Congress, to help disabled veterans directly. We should serve as an example to other government agencies and to private-sector employers. We need to send an unmistakable message that every disabled veteran should have the opportunity to work at a decent-paying job and that they can this way adjust and bring themselves back into this community as they heal and come home.

This resolution coordinates the House Administration Committee and the CAO to find qualified disabled veterans to fill open positions in our House offices.

Congress has two important obligations when sending America's defenders into harm's way.

The first is to ensure that those soldiers have the necessary training, equipment and resources to get the job done and come home safely.

The second is to ensure that when these heroes come home, especially if they have been severely wounded, that their wounds are cared for and once they are healed, there are adequate avenues available to ensure them a decent life, especially the personal and professional satisfaction of a real job.

I would challenge my colleagues to achieve the following goal: by the end of the next year, every congressional office should employ at least one disabled veteran. Not only would these veterans benefit from these jobs, but we would benefit greatly from the unique perspective that these heroes would bring to our offices.

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank Mr. Clifford Heinz for bringing to my attention disturbing news stories regarding returning veterans. I also thank the majority whip, Mr. Blunt, for his hard work in helping to move this resolution to the floor for the vote.

We must ensure that the returning veterans from this war are treated with the dignity and honor, that it is the dignity and honor that they have earned and deserve. This resolution is an important first step in what I know will be a continued effort by this Congress to say thank you to the disabled veterans who have paid a price beyond the call of duty and never fully repaid.

Mr. Speaker, I ask my colleagues to support this resolution and to take seriously the challenge of personally hiring a disabled veteran for their office. I ask them to support H. Res. 1016.