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Opening Statement of Hon. Ann Marie Buerkle, a Representative in Congress from the State of New York

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I would like to thank all of the members of the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) and their Auxiliary for your service and your participation here today. 

Your timeless commitment and support for the many service members and veterans who sacrificed for this nation is deeply humbling and greatly appreciated.   I am honored to meet with you today.

I would like to express an especially warm welcome to the attendees from my home state of New York - would all of those from the “Empire State” please stand up or raise your hand to be recognized.

 I am proud to represent your interests on this Committee.

It is also a great privilege for me to serve as Chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Health this Congress. I take this charge very seriously and look forward to working with Ranking Member Mike Michaud and our other colleagues to ensure that our veterans receive what they so richly deserve - the best care available.  

As we meet today, the annual process to develop the budget for veterans programs for fiscal years 2012 and 2013 is just getting started. As such, your input here this afternoon is both timely and valuable. 

While we are all aware of our country’s current economic condition and the need to take a critical look at how our tax dollars are being spent, I want to assure you that I will work with the veterans’ service organizations and my colleagues in both bodies and on both sides of the aisle to ensure that providing quality medical care to America’s veterans is a top priority this Congress.  

Commander Tyson, thank you for your testimony. I look forward to working with you and your esteemed organization as we move forward in our work to improve the lives of our veteran heroes.

Once again, thank you. I yield back.