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Opening Statement of The Honorable Michael H. Michaud, Ranking Minority Member, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs

Good Morning, Commander Johnson.  Thank you and all the members of DAV and the Auxiliary for your service.  We also thank you for your continued dedication to our nation’s veterans.

I want to take this opportunity to welcome those of you in the audience from Maine.  The sons and daughters of Maine have a history of service to our Nation, and I am glad to see you continuing that tradition.

DAV and other veterans’ groups are active and valued partners to us in Congress as we work to keep our promise to America’s veterans. I want to thank you for your work on advocating the passage and enactment of H.R. 813, the Putting Veterans Funding First Act. We have seen how well advance appropriations work for VA medical care.  It is time that the rest of VA’s discretionary budget be treated the same.  We owe it to America’s veterans to provide certain and stable VA budgets.

The VA is pursuing a wide range of initiatives, from new methods of health care delivery to electronic benefits management.  These investments will help bring the Department into the 21st century.  Working with you and the VA, we will make sure that these initiatives are implemented fairly, transparently, and in the best interest of veterans and taxpayers.

Making sure that the VA can meet the challenges of the 21st century is the job of all of us.  I know that DAV, your members across the country, and your staff here in Washington are ready and eager for the challenge.

I look forward to your testimony today, and again thank you for DAV’s long history of distinguished service, in and out of uniform.

Thank you Mr. Chairman and I yield back the balance of my time.