Chet Edwards Meets with Brazos Valley Veterans

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U.S. Representative Chet Edwards made as stop in Bryan Monday to talk with veterans about the 2008 Veterans Appropriations Bill.

The bill, authored by Edwards, passed the house June 15th with a vote of 409 to two. Edwards is the Chairman of the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Subcommittee.

"For members of congress, I think it's more important, what we do than what we say," Rep. Chet Edwards said. "Two weeks ago we passed a bill that is the largest increase in veterans health care spending in a 77-year history of the VA. It is a $6.7 billion increase in VA discretionary spending over 2007."

The congressman says the money will improve medical services and reduce wait-times for doctor's appointments. The bill still needs to be passed by the senate and signed by the President. Edwards is confident both will happen.

Two weeks ago, Edwards gave the democratic radio address regarding the bill.

"For weeks, the White House budget office threatened to veto this bill, because it was above their request," Edwards said. "Fortunately, the president finally backed down on his threat to this historic Veterans' Bill, but only after it was clear that Congress would override a veto."

Monday's meeting also gave veterans an opportunity to express their concerns.

"These are our own men and women who are in service, who get mentally damaged over there and then come back here and do not get the treatment that they need," one local veteran said.

Edwards assured veterans that if the bill becomes law, there will be more health care for the men and women who are serving and those who have served.

"Taking care of veterans isn't only the morally right thing to do, it's also the smart thing to do, if we are going to have the best and brightest in a voluntary military," Edwards said.

Overall, Edwards says the bill means renewed hope to rebuild lives.