Joint Hearing of the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs of the U.S. Senate and the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs of the U.S. House of Representatives at 1:00 p.m. CDT.
Opening Statement of Hon. Doug Lamborn, a Representative in Congress from the State of Colorado
Thank you Chairman Filner and Chairman Akaka for holding this hearing, and I thank my colleagues from both Houses of Congress for their attendance this morning.
I would like to welcome all of the commanders and presidents joining us today. Mr. Tom McGriff, National Commander, American Veterans (AMVETS); Mr. Robert W. Fletcher, National Commander, American Ex-Prisoners of War; Mr. Tom Poulter, National Commander, Military Order of the Purple Heart; Mr. Jerry L. Sweeney, National President, Fleet Reserve Association; Mr. Patrick Corbett, National President, The Retired Enlisted Association; Ms. Rose Lee, Chair, Government Relations Committee, Gold Star Wives; Colonel Ana R. Smythe, USMC (Ret.), Deputy Director, Government Relations, Military Officers Association of America; and Mr. John Garcia, President, National Association of State Directors of Veterans Affairs.
I would also like to welcome my fellow Coloradans who have joined us today. I thank you for making such a long trip here.
In reading the testimony of the witnesses, I was interested to see that they placed such a high priority on the claims backlog and issues regarding compensation within VBA. I agree with you that the backlog is disgraceful and I am looking forward to the Disability and Memorial Affairs Subcommittee, of which I am the Ranking Member, having continued discussion and hearings on this issue.
The an important first step towards fixing the backlog would be to include the funding that is outlined in the republican budget that we are debating on the floor today.
This budget would give:
- $147.5 Million in VBA Programs
- 1,000 new FTEE in for VBA
- Pilot Programs innovative programs like:
- Rules Based Adjudication System
- Mobile Claims Centers
- Intergovernmental partnerships
We in Congress owe it to all veterans, to do whatever we can to address this issue. I know that by working with my good friend Mr. Hall we can accomplish this goal.
I once again, thank the witnesses for their testimony and their service to our nation and I yield back. Thank you.