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Senate Proceeding on Feb 14th, 2008 :: 8:48:25 to 9:01:42
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Byron Dorgan

8:39:39 to 8:48:25( Edit History Discussion )
Speech By: Byron Dorgan

Byron Dorgan

8:48:13 to 8:48:25( Edit History Discussion )

Byron Dorgan: amendments will not be dealt with further, and so we would, therefore, on his behalf ask that the coburn amendments be withdrawn. i believe senator murkowski is with the same understanding. he came to both

Richard Burr

8:48:25 to 8:48:35( Edit History Discussion )

Richard Burr: of us. he offered some of his amendments. he got us to accept other amendments without a vote, and we appreciate very much his cooperation. but the other pending amendments that were accepted originally to

Richard Burr

8:48:25 to 9:01:42( Edit History Discussion )
Speech By: Richard Burr

Richard Burr

8:48:35 to 8:48:52( Edit History Discussion )

Richard Burr: be en bloc, we would then ask, request that they be withdrawn. ms. murkowski: we have no objection on this side to withdraw the pending coburn amendments. the presiding officer: without objection, the

Richard Burr

8:48:52 to 8:49:02( Edit History Discussion )

Richard Burr: amendments are withdrawn. a senator:se mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from north carolina. mr. burr: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent to address the senate for ten minutes as

Richard Burr

8:49:02 to 8:49:19( Edit History Discussion )

Richard Burr: if in morning business. the presiding officer: wesithout objection. mr. burr: mr. president, i thank you. a few minutes ago the chairman of the veterans' affairs committee came to the floor and talked

Richard Burr

8:49:19 to 8:49:32( Edit History Discussion )

Richard Burr: about the history of a bill, 1315. the spirited debate tpihat we had in committee, the continued negotiations that have gone on since that markup, and i'm here to the floor to announce that today i

Richard Burr

8:49:32 to 8:49:45( Edit History Discussion )

Richard Burr: introduced an alternativeal bill to 1315. i know i'm joined by millionss in america who also salute our nation's veterans, these brave men and women and their families have sacrificed so much to defend our

Richard Burr

8:49:45 to 8:50:06( Edit History Discussion )

Richard Burr: country and to protect our freedom. as the ranking member of the senate committee on veterans' affairs, i take very seriously my responsibilities to ensure that our veterans are getting the respect

Richard Burr

8:50:06 to 8:50:22( Edit History Discussion )

Richard Burr: and benefits they deserve. this appreciation is very, the very reason why i want to talk about the substitute to 1315. mr. president, my bill's a commonsense alternative, an omnibus veterans bill that

Richard Burr

8:50:22 to 8:50:37( Edit History Discussion )

Richard Burr: was reported out of the senate committee on veterans' affairs last june contained over 35 provisions prov isions compiled in the t bill. unlike in past congresses, 1315 does not enjoy the kind of

Richard Burr

8:50:37 to 8:50:52( Edit History Discussion )

Richard Burr: customary bipartisan support that such an omnibus bill has received in the past. why is this? well, in addition to all good things it would do for the veterans, this bill is also being used as a vehicle

Richard Burr

8:50:52 to 8:51:03( Edit History Discussion )

Richard Burr: for a provision that would take money away from helping veterans of war -- of the war on terror and instead sending the money overseas. talking about a provision that would establish a flat-rate, special

Richard Burr

8:51:03 to 8:51:18( Edit History Discussion )

Richard Burr: pension for world war ii filipino veterans who did not suffer any wartime injuries, genera lly are not u.s. citizens and who do not even live in the united states. in a few minutes i'll talk more

Richard Burr

8:51:18 to 8:51:28( Edit History Discussion )

Richard Burr: about the filipino provision benefits and why it's wrong and the wrong priority at the wrong time. but first i'd like to share some good provisions of 1315 which i've included in the alternative,

Richard Burr

8:51:28 to 8:51:40( Edit History Discussion )

Richard Burr: the omnibus bill that i've introduced today.ay 1315 has some very important y provision -gs that help our men and women -- provisions that help our men and women who have fought in the war on terror

Richard Burr

8:51:40 to 8:51:53( Edit History Discussion )

Richard Burr: and shndould be passed as soon as possible by this body. it provides retroactive payments between $25,000 and $100,000 to all disabled veterans who sustained severe injuries since the war on terror began.

Richard Burr

8:51:53 to 8:52:06( Edit History Discussion )

Richard Burr: currently severely injured veterans can onlyan receive this retroactive payment iff they sustained their injuries in iraq or afghanistan. but if they were injured on the way or returning from a combat zone,

Richard Burr

8:52:06 to 8:52:20( Edit History Discussion )

Richard Burr: they're not eligible. this provision would correct c that mistake. it also increases the amount of insurance coverage available to severely disabled veterans under the veterans mortgage life insurance

Richard Burr

8:52:20 to 8:52:34( Edit History Discussion )

Richard Burr: program. additionally, it provides adaptive housingsi and auto grants to veterans with severe burn injuries who require modifications to their homes and to their vehicles. and it provides severely injured

Richard Burr

8:52:34 to 8:52:48( Edit History Discussion )

Richard Burr: servicemen and women with housing grants assistance who temporarily live with family members while still on active duty. my bill would keep these provisions and other good provisions from 1315.5. so

Richard Burr

8:52:48 to 8:53:04( Edit History Discussion )

Richard Burr: what would my bill do that differs from 1315? first, it would eliminate the provision that creates a special pension, a special pension for nonu.s. citizens. filipino veterans who live in the philippines

Richard Burr

8:53:04 to 8:53:20( Edit History Discussion )

Richard Burr: and do not have wartime injuries. this would free up over $220 million to spend on benefits for veterans of operation enduring freedom and offer operation iraqi freedom. it's important to note that it

Richard Burr

8:53:20 to 8:53:34( Edit History Discussion )

Richard Burr: would still provide --vi still provide -- over $100 million to grant full equity to filipino veterans living in the united states and full disability compensation for those living abroad who have service-related

Richard Burr

8:53:34 to 8:53:47( Edit History Discussion )

Richard Burr: injuries. also, my bill would create savings by changing how 1315 would fund state approving agencies. the entities that abg credit schools and the training programs for v.a. education benefits. my

Richard Burr

8:53:47 to 8:54:08( Edit History Discussion )

Richard Burr: bill would begin the -- to transition these entities from entitlementen funding to discretionary appropriations. subjecting these agencies to the annual appropriations process would help to make sure that

Richard Burr

8:54:08 to 8:54:22( Edit History Discussion )

Richard Burr: veterans are being well served by any funds spent on this bureaucratic function. my bill then takes these savings -- the savings that we have gained from eliminating this pension fund for nonu.s. citizens

Richard Burr

8:54:22 to 8:54:36( Edit History Discussion )

Richard Burr: and filipinosos injured in conflict and it would provide funding to increase the specialtydaptive housing grants for severely disabled veterans from $5,000 to $55,000 and for less severely tkaeubld

Richard Burr

8:54:36 to 8:54:51( Edit History Discussion )

Richard Burr: veterans from $10,000,0 to $11,000. it would then annually adjust the amount of grants for inflation. my bill would also increase the auto grant assistance for traumaticically injured veterans from

Richard Burr

8:54:51 to 8:55:03( Edit History Discussion )

Richard Burr: $11,000 to $16,000 and then also index that grant for inflation. this benefit provides mobility and freedom to people such as sergeant eric edmondson, who my colleague from north carolina talks about

Richard Burr

8:55:03 to 8:55:16( Edit History Discussion )

Richard Burr: frequently. a young veteran from my home state of north carolina who lost the use of his legs after being injured during combat. as a result, eric now uses a motorized wheelchair. the expense to

Richard Burr

8:55:16 to 8:55:31( Edit History Discussion )

Richard Burr: give a van that is wheelchair accessible is enormous. this provision makes it financially possible for others like eric to afford what most of us take for granted: mobility. my bill would also provide

Richard Burr

8:55:31 to 8:55:45( Edit History Discussion )

Richard Burr: annual increases in the funeral assistance and plot assistance benefits to families of of deceased veterans to keep up with inflation. it would increase kickers for members of the guard and reserve for

Richard Burr

8:55:45 to 8:56:01( Edit History Discussion )

Richard Burr: tpr $350 to $425 per month providing extra monthly education benefits that may be paid to members with certain critical skills. s it also allows guard and reserve personnel activated for cumulative

Richard Burr

8:56:01 to 8:56:14( Edit History Discussion )

Richard Burr: two years after the war on t error to begin to receive full maximum education benefits. the current requirement is i either three cumulative years or two continuous years of service. this change will make

Richard Burr

8:56:14 to 8:56:31( Edit History Discussion )

Richard Burr: it easier for men and women who have gone on multiple deployments, including many of the guard and reserve from my home state of north carolina, to earn the highest level of education benefits. with

Richard Burr

8:56:31 to 8:56:46( Edit History Discussion )

Richard Burr: these changes, s. 131515 -- to s. 1315, i think we have a well-balanced package of benefits, enhancements for our nation's veterans which could garner the support of the entire united states senate. unfortunately,

Richard Burr

8:56:46 to 8:57:03( Edit History Discussion )

Richard Burr: the same cany,not be said about 1315 in its current form. the problem withit s. 1315, mr. president, is a provision that creates a special pension for world war ii filipino veterans. this is both wrong and

Richard Burr

8:57:03 to 8:57:15( Edit History Discussion )

Richard Burr: it's costly. it's wrong because it takes money from american veterans and sends it to the philippines to create a special pension for noncitizens, nonresident filipino veterans with no service-connected

Richard Burr

8:57:15 to 8:57:32( Edit History Discussion )

Richard Burr: disabilities. allow me to explain this provision inin 1315nd what it would actually do. it proposes to send $328 million over ten years in benefits for filipino veterans. although i'm supportive

Richard Burr

8:57:32 to 8:57:44( Edit History Discussion )

Richard Burr: of the increased benefit for filipino veterans residing in the united states and even increasing benefitsne for filipinos with service-connected injuries residing elsewhere, i just cannot support sending $221

Richard Burr

8:57:44 to 8:57:58( Edit History Discussion )

Richard Burr: million to the philippines to create a special pension for noninjured filipino veterans. to some, this may sound like a nice thing to do, and i fully respect their desire to recognize the valiant service

Richard Burr

8:57:58 to 8:58:12( Edit History Discussion )

Richard Burr: made by filipino veterans in defense of the philippine islands. but i would point out, mr. president, that our government has already de a great deal to provide for filipinos who foufight in world war

Richard Burr

8:58:12 to 8:58:25( Edit History Discussion )

Richard Burr: ii. for instance, after the war, the u.s. gave $620 million to the philippines for repair of public property and war-damaged claims, provided partial dollar v.a. disability di compensation to filipinos

Richard Burr

8:58:25 to 8:58:39( Edit History Discussion )

Richard Burr: with service-related disabilities and provided benefits to the survivors of filipinos injured in war. the u.s. also provided $22.5 million for the construction and equipping of a hospital in the philippines

Richard Burr

8:58:39 to 8:58:52( Edit History Discussion )

Richard Burr: for the care of filipino veterans and later donated that hospital to the filipino government. on top of that, the u.s. continues to provide annual grants to support t the operation of that hospital

Richard Burr

8:58:52 to 8:59:06( Edit History Discussion )

Richard Burr: in the philippines. for those filipinos legally residing in the united states, the benefits are even more robust. they are eligible for full dollar disability compensation, for cash burial benefits,

Richard Burr

8:59:06 to 8:59:21( Edit History Discussion )

Richard Burr: access to our v.a. health delivery clinics and medical centers and burial in our national cemeteries. with these initiatives and others, i thinkhe our government hasha taken a significant step to recognize

Richard Burr

8:59:21 to 8:59:35( Edit History Discussion )

Richard Burr: the service of filipino veterans. more importantly, the money that s. 1315 would send overseas to create a new special pension for filipinos is money that's needed here in the united states.~ to

Richard Burr

8:59:35 to 8:59:48( Edit History Discussion )

Richard Burr: support our men and women who have served our country, especially in iraq and afghanistan. simply put, with our nation now at war, this filipino pension provision is the wrong priority at the wrong

Richard Burr

8:59:48 to 9:00:04( Edit History Discussion )

Richard Burr: time. since the committee's markup, we've tried to refocu this bill on the priorities that so many of our colleagues share, such as enhancing benefits for men and women fighting in the war on terror.

Richard Burr

9:00:04 to 9:00:21( Edit History Discussion )

Richard Burr: because those efforts have not worked, i'm here today introducing an alternative omnibus bill to 1315. i've kept most of the provisions found in 1315 because it's generally a good bill. it would provide

Richard Burr

9:00:21 to 9:00:37( Edit History Discussion )

Richard Burr: enhancements to a wide range of benefits for our nation's veterans veterans. in short, my bill serves as a fair and just compromise. it improves benefits for filipinos, but it also places the appropriate

Richard Burr

9:00:37 to 9:00:53( Edit History Discussion )

Richard Burr: priority on our returning o.i.f. and o.e.f. veterans. mr. president, i believe it is a reasonable alternative to s. 13 1315 . and i believe it's one that we can all grace embrace and pass quickly quickly.

Richard Burr

9:00:53 to 9:01:09( Edit History Discussion )

Richard Burr: i ask my colleagues for their support. i'm ready to debate the contents of this bill against s. 1315. i'm sure if the leadership sees fit they will set the structure up to do that, but it's important that

Richard Burr

9:01:09 to 9:01:27( Edit History Discussion )

Richard Burr: every member of the united statesst senate and every american understand we have done a tremendous job of supporting people who have fought with us in battle, and the filipinos are no different. the reality

Richard Burr

9:01:27 to 9:01:42( Edit History Discussion )

Richard Burr: is that this time we should focus on o the needs of those who are u.s. citizens, the needs of those who were injured in battle, but not to create a special pension fund for individuals that just had

Mitch McConnell

9:01:42 to 9:02:22( Edit History Discussion )

Mitch McConnell: an a affiliation, and i might say that exceeds the annual income of most philippine residents. mr. president, i urge my colleagues to learn about this issue, to get ready to engage in debate, and

Mitch McConnell

9:01:42 to 9:13:16( Edit History Discussion )
Speech By: Mitch McConnell

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