Tom Perriello | Fifth District Report
To increase government transparency and allow for more time for constituent feedback, I am urging House leaders to make sure that major legislation is available to the public on the internet for at least 72 hours before a vote. Last week, I joined with 22 of my colleagues in a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer stating this request.
In our letter we say, “Our job as Members of Congress is to represent the people of our districts and cast our votes with their best interests in mind. A transparent and open government invites the public into the policy debates happening in Washington, helping elected officials make good decisions on behalf of their constituents.”
I strongly believe in open, transparent government, which is why I held 21 town-hall meetings in August and have had the House version of the health-care bill posted on my website since it was first available in July. For the strength of our democracy, it is important that both elected officials and citizens have time to read legislation and offer constructive feedback. I believe having major bills available online for 72 hours before a vote will help achieve that goal.
I’m very pleased to report a big step forward in preserving the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford. The Memorial is a treasure to the Fifth District, to Virginia, and to our nation. But unfortunately in the harsh economic climate, the Memorial has recently announced that it does not have enough funds to continue operations and may be in danger of shutting its doors.
Since June, I have been working with our Senators Mark Warner and Jim Webb to pass legislation that would authorize the Department of the Interior to study whether the Memorial could be transferred to the National Park Service, the first step towards becoming a National Park. In August, a team from the National Park Service came to visit the Memorial and learn about its many services. Last week, the U.S. House passed the compromise version of the National Defense Authorization Act, which included our bill to authorize the D-Day Memorial study. After being passed by the U.S. Senate, the bill will head to the President’s desk for his signature.
Nineteen soldiers from Bedford died in combat on June 6, 1944. As the city’s population at the time was only 3,200, Bedford suffered the highest proportional loss of life of any American city on D-Day. The National D-Day Memorial was authorized by President Bill Clinton in 1996, and dedicated by President George W. Bush in 2001. The memorial attracts approximately 75,000 visitors a year, bringing tourism to the area and boosting the local economy.
This tribute to the sacrifice and valor of the Bedford Boys is not just a local treasure, but a national one and deserves to be a part of our nation’s heritage for generations to come. I’m grateful for the tireless work of Senators Warner and Webb and thrilled to see our bill headed for the President’s signature.
Please feel free to contact me to share your concerns and ideas. You may call 888.4.TOM4US (888.486.6487); write to 1520 Longworth House Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20515; or visit www.perriello.house.gov to sign up for my weekly e-newsletter.
Tom Perriello represents the Fifth District in the United States House of Representatives.