It is long overdue for the nation's political and government leaders to come together, change course and begin to implement policies that more fairly allocate the burden of the war effort on our citizens.  We are engaged in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that no doubt will have lasting consequences for the nation in terms of costs - both human and budgetary.  Clearly the time is right to appreciate the need for national sacrifice to support such endeavors. Yet, this notion of shared sacrifice is not embodied in the Administration's domestic policies that unevenly spread the burden of the war effort by providing tax cuts to the wealthiest among us while shortchanging programs that benefit veterans and the middle class.  Current policies under the Republican-controlled government expect veterans to sacrifice twice - once when they serve their country in uniform, and a second time after they return to civilian life - in the form of higher health care fees, pared-back health care budgets, and delayed and denied access to care.

I think we can do better and I am confident that we as Americans are capable of joining together for the common good and begin to share in the sacrifice that our servicemembers, veterans and military families are currently experiencing.  Unfortunately, this Administration has never asked the public to share in this burden equally.  Rather, the Administration appears to be disconnected from the harsh realities facing our servicemembers, veterans, and military families - preferring instead to promote tax cuts for the elite while shortchanging funding for veterans and military families.  In contrast, my Democratic colleagues in the House of Representatives have tried to increase funding for veterans' health, expand TRICARE health care for the members of the National Guard and Reserves and worked to defeat Administrative efforts to raise veterans' health care fees.  We must continue these efforts.

Friends, the time is right to change course and head in a new direction.  We must begin asking the nation to share in the sacrifice during this time of war and truly support our servicemembers, veterans and military families.  Our comfort, peace and security depend on them; they should know they can depend on us.