FILIPINO VETERANS OF WORLD WAR II CONGRESSIONAL GOLD MEDAL ACT OF 2015
Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of S. 1555, the Filipino Veterans of World War II Congressional Gold Medal Act of 2015.
Filipino Americans have contributed to American life and culture in countless ways, and one of the most noble is through military service. Over 200,000 Filipino soldiers and guerrilla fighters served with the United States Armed Forces during World War II. Their invaluable service helped provide the necessary support to defeat the Japanese in the Pacific.
For over 60 years, Filipino veterans and community advocates have fought to obtain benefits and recognition that they were promised. In 2009, Congress created the Filipino Veterans Equity Compensation Fund, where eligible veterans who are U.S. citizens could receive a one-time payment of $15,000; eligible veterans who are not U.S. citizens could receive a one-time payment of $9,000. While this fund has allowed many of them to receive some compensation, in Congress we are still working to make sure these families get all of the benefits they earned, they deserved and were promised.
Another way that we can recognize these heroes is by awarding them the Congressional Gold Medal. The Senate unanimously passed the Filipino World War II Congressional Gold Medal Act in July. Mr. Speaker, as a cosponsor of the House version of the bill and co-chair of the U.S.-Philippines Friendship Caucus, I urge my colleagues to support the legislation so that approximately 18,000 surviving Filipino veterans of World War II may be recognized for their service to our Nation. We are forever indebted to these brave soldiers, and it is important that we appropriately express our gratitude for that service.
Mr. Speaker, I therefore urge my colleagues to support the bill.