3:00 PM EDT

Sheila Jackson-Lee, D-TX 18th

Ms. JACKSON-LEE of Texas. In the best of all worlds, Mr. Chairman, I would hope that the point of order could be waived; but at the same time as I discuss this amendment, I will acknowledge the leadership of the ranking member and the chairman of this subcommittee.

Living near a veterans hospital, having the pleasure of having represented the veterans hospital in Houston, Texas, and living in the State of Texas and recognizing the facilities that we have dealing with the rehabilitation of injured persons including injured soldiers, I would say that this is one of the more important funding areas that this bill has an ability to address. Why? Because we realize that some 19,000 of the U.S. military and the number is growing have been injured.

As we know, both Mr. Young and Mr. Murtha have steadily provided insight as they visited the troops in many of our military hospitals, including Bethesda and Walter Reed; and as I have had the opportunity to visit those hospitals, as well as the veterans hospital in Houston, the Michael DeBakey Hospital, which I had the pleasure of naming in honor of Dr. Michael DeBakey, one of the world's renowned heart surgeons, but also a veteran of World War II.

This idea of funding more prosthetics research is recognizing the cherished defenders of our Nation. It is giving them a second chance at life. This amendment would add additional funding of $4 million in that area. We know that every day they stand between the status quo and an ideal for a better future.

Might I just say that we have seen some of the more heinous injuries coming from the IEDs in Afghanistan and Iraq. U.S. troops injured in Iraq have required limb amputations at twice the rate of past wars. Bulletproof Kevlar vests protect soldiers' bodies, but not their limbs.

I am exhilarated that the rate of death is the lowest of any war we have fought in our history, and I am sure that my colleagues join me in that. Yet we must continue the responsibility of rehabilitation.

The good news is that prosthetic research by the military has generated their finest quality of prosthetic limbs, and we have seen and I have seen young men and women experience the joy of being able to walk again or to use their arms again. They, of course, must now readjust to life at home, they must relearn how to move, how to eat, how to walk, how to go grocery shopping, how to cook and how to adapt to the rest of their lives.

The importance of prosthetic research is increasing in light of the ongoing hostilities in Iraq and the growing sophistication of the improvised explosive devices used against our troops.

I recently visited Walter Reed Hospital, we met a number of wounded soldiers, many of whom were badly scarred physically, and needed to have the knowledge that the prosthetic devices would be available for them.

So this amendment is simple. It attempts to place special emphasis on work that is ongoing and the importance of continuing both the research and the funding regarding prosthetic research. This will help the encreased utilization of prosthetics for our soldiers. Someone out there is listening, I hope, in order to know that we are concerned about the many issues that impacts these soldiers' lives; and one of those issues is to have the opportunity to walk again.


3:03 PM EDT

Bill Young, R-FL 10th

Mr. YOUNG of Florida. Mr. Chairman, I make the point of order, reluctantly, I might say, against the amendment because it provides an appropriation for an unauthorized program and therefore violates clause 2 of rule XXI.

Clause 2 of rule XXI states in pertinent part: ``An appropriation may not be in order as an amendment for an expenditure not previously authorized by law.''

Mr. Chairman, the amendment proposes to appropriate funds for an earmark that is not authorized. The [Page: H4259]

amendment therefore violates clause 2 of rule XXI.

I ask for the ruling of the Chair.

3:04 PM EDT

Sheila Jackson-Lee, D-TX 18th

Ms. JACKSON-LEE of Texas. I would. I would like to yield to the distinguished ranking member to ask about his belief and concern about the importance of prosthetic research funding and continue to have the opportunity to work with him and Mr. Young on this issue.

3:04 PM EDT

John P. Murtha Jr., D-PA 12th

Mr. MURTHA. Mr. Chairman, nobody has worked harder than Bill Young, his wife and myself in taking care of these troops at all the hospitals, all over the country. Just last year we put in money to start a new center for rehabilitation of people that had lost their limbs and so forth.

We appreciate your recommendation. We hope you withdraw the amendment, and we will continue to work toward full funding, as much as we think is absolutely necessary for all these hospitals.

3:05 PM EDT

Sheila Jackson-Lee, D-TX 18th

Ms. JACKSON-LEE of Texas. Mr. Chairman, I will take the time to discuss the point of order and not discuss it, simply to say this amendment's intention was to further highlight both the work already done by the ranking member and the subcommittee Chair, but also to express the need in my particular locality in Houston, Texas, where a number of these veterans are coming back needing prosthetics.

Let me thank the ranking member and the chairman for the work already done and ask at this time, as the moneys will be continue to be emphasized and the need already known, I will look forward to working with both of them as these funds continue to increase to help the need that is existing for those needing prosthetics coming back from the front line.

Mr. Chairman, I ask unanimous consent to withdraw the amendment.