Washington, D.C. - Today, congressional leadership from both the House of Representatives and Senate made good on their commitment to America's veterans. In a joint statement issued today, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, House Veterans' Affairs Committee Chairman Bob Filner, and Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee Chairman Daniel Akaka announced the reinstatement of the traditional joint hearings process in which veterans and military service organizations appear before the Veterans' Affairs Committees. Today's announcement reversed the decision of GOP leadership in the House of Representatives last Congress.
"These longstanding joint hearings provide a vital forum to review the legislative priorities of veterans and military service organizations and allow veterans to directly express their views and interact with Congress," Speaker Pelosi said. "Reinstating the joint hearings will begin anew this valuable dialogue, and will ensure that Congress protects the interests of the brave men and women who have defended our freedom."
"I commend Chairmen Filner and Akaka of the House and Senate Veterans Affairs Committees for their tremendous efforts on behalf of our nations' veterans," Majority Leader Reid said. "By reinstating the joint hearings of their two committees, they have allowed both Chambers of Congress to work together to find solutions for our troops, veterans, and their families. For many years, this has been a vital process to address the concerns of America's Veterans, and I am extremely pleased it will return in the 110th Congress."
"I am very pleased that we are renewing the joint Senate and House hearings. I look forward to meeting with my colleagues in the House once again, to hear the concerns and legislative initiatives of our valued military and veteran constituents," Chairman Akaka said. "Our new majority in the 110th Congress once again gives us the opportunity to respond to the concerns and needs of our veterans and military groups."
"I am proud of today's decision to reinstate the joint hearings. These forums provide veterans and military families an opportunity to voice their concerns and provide guidance to the government for whom they fought and sacrificed so much," said Chairman Filner. "I look forward to working with the veterans' community, the Administration and my colleagues in the House and Senate to provide our troops, veterans, and military families the benefits and health care they have earned and deserve."
The joint hearings have traditionally been held in the spring, after the President submits his budget request to Congress. The hearings are generally tied to the veterans' service organizations national meetings occurring in Washington, D.C. The American Legion traditionally has participated in a joint hearing during the month of September.
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January 11, 2007