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

Good Morning.

I welcome all of the Members and Leadership of the Veteran Service Organizations attending today for this joint legislation presentation.

It is great to see so many important organizations here today, and I look forward to hearing the priorities set forth in your testimony.

I want to take a moment to recognize those of you who have traveled from Maine.  Thank you for making the trip.  

Our nation has a “sacred trust” with all veterans – a national promise to care for and stand up for those who have served and sacrificed.  The VSOs represented here today help to ensure that the most important issues facing American veterans remain at the center of the national stage.  You fulfill a vital role in the “community of support” America provides its national heroes.  

As you know, the Administration has delayed the release of its FY 2014 budget proposal. While VA programs are spared from the effects of sequestration, that does not mean that veterans will be left unaffected in their capacity as citizens.  State and local government services—services on which our veterans rely—will come under additional strain.

In many ways, the VA is facing unprecedented challenges as it continues to serve the veterans of the Second World War, Korean War, and the Vietnam War as well as those just now returned from the Middle East.  Together, we must work to ensure everyone who has stepped up to serve this nation is served by this nation.  No one should fall through the cracks. 

I look forward to your testimony today, and again thank you for your organization’s years of service to our veterans.