7:09 PM EDT
John A. Boehner, R-OH 8th

Mr. BOEHNER. Mr. Speaker, let me thank my colleague for yielding, and let me thank him for his work, the majority leader Mr. Hoyer, and the chairman of the Appropriations Committee, Mr. Obey, the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, Mr. Rangel

It's not often that on a major bill that with as much controversy as we've had with this bill that we can come together and work as a Congress on both sides of the aisle and come to a compromise. The gentleman from Wisconsin outlined the provisions of the bill. I might have described them a little differently than he did. But a compromise is that. It's a compromise. You know, there are 435 of us. Any one of us could write this bill in a way that fit our own interests.

But at the end of the day, I think there was cooperation on both sides to come to this agreement. And I believe that at the end of the day, it's a victory for our troops, it's a victory for American families, it's a victory for our veterans, and for those in need who are unemployed.

Now, we could get into the whole issue of Iraq. I'm glad we're there. I wish it had gone better. I wish it had gone quicker. I want our troops to come home as soon as possible. But I want our troops to come home having succeeded in Iraq. The effort, the fight that's going on in Iraq, it's not about tomorrow, it's not about next month or next year. It is about the future for our kids and theirs.

Our soldiers in Iraq have brought more security to that country, the political process is working better, and building a democracy in a part of the world that's never known it, there is no price. There is no price that we can put on what that may mean for the future for our kids and theirs.

I know it's been difficult. It's been difficult for all Americans. And it's certainly been difficult for our troops and especially for those troops that have given their lives in defense of our country. But it's a price for freedom. And I think freedom for our kids and theirs is why a lot of us are here. And so supporting our troops that are in Iraq and Afghanistan is important.

I could criticize the majority that this bill should have happened a long time ago. There's no reason to get into that. But I think we're doing the right thing for our troops in this bill finally. I think the expanded GI benefits in this bill, while they may not be exactly as I would write them, taking care of our veterans should be our highest priority and making sure that they have the kinds of educational benefits that will help not only them but also their families will help us retain more

of our soldiers, and help give them the benefits that they and their families deserve.

When it comes to the unemployment benefits that are included in this bill, I think it's a reasonable provision to require 20 weeks of work, which is current law, and to extend 13 additional weeks for all 50 States. I wouldn't have done it that way. The gentleman from New York (Mr. Rangel) knows that. We had a discussion about it. But again, a compromise is a compromise.

I want to thank my Democrat colleagues for working with us to get to this point. And I want to thank them for this commitment that this is the bill, this is the bill that will end up on the President's desk.

And so I would ask all of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to vote for this. You may not love it, but this is one of those moments when you've worked together, you've worked out a compromise, that Members need to just suck it up and vote ``yes'' because it's the right thing to do for our country.