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

Good Morning.  Thank you all for being here today.  And thank you Chairman Miller and Chairman Sanders for giving us all the opportunity to hear from the leadership of so many VSOs: 

We, in Congress, could not do the job we do without you.  You provide perspective, new ideas and accountability to all of us, every day.  Your service to this nation and to its veterans is unwavering.  I look forward to hearing your priorities today.

I want to take a moment to recognize those of you representing Maine and our rich heritage of military service.  Thank you for making to effort to join us today. 

With the fiscal uncertainty of the past few years, we owe it to America’s veterans to provide certain and stable VA budgets.  I know this is a top priority for many of you.  I want to thank you for your support 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. 

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.  

Working together, we can ensure that we keep our promises to our veterans, and we can work to meet the challenges of the future. 

I look forward to hearing from you all this morning.  Thank you again for your many years of service to our country and its veterans.

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