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Opening Statement of Hon. Michael H. Michaud, Chairman, and a Representative in Congress from the State of Maine

Today’s legislative hearing will provide Members of Congress, veterans, the VA and other interested parties with the opportunity to discuss legislation within the Subcommittee’s jurisdiction in a clear and orderly process. 

While I may not necessarily agree or disagree with the bills before us today, I do believe that this is an important process that will encourage frank discussions and new ideas.

We have ten bills before us that seek to improve health care for the nation’s veterans, and I look forward to hearing the views of our witnesses.

I also look forward to working with everyone here to continue to improve the quality of care available to our veterans.

There are two draft discussions that are not before us today.   There is a discussion draft on homelessness, and a discussion draft on mental health services.  Congressman Patrick Murphy of Pennsylvania has also introduced H.R. 2699.  I ask that the members of the third panel, the VSOs, and the fourth panel, VA, provide comments and views on these three items for the record once they are made available.  We would like your written comments submitted to the Committee by June 21st, 2007.