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Chairman Bost: “Our work is nowhere close to being finished.”

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Mike Bost (R-Ill.), delivered the following opening remarks, as prepared, at the start of the second of three annual joint House and Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs veteran service organization (VSO) hearings to discuss the organizations’ legislative priorities, concerns, and initiatives on behalf of the veterans, their families, and their survivors they represent nationwide. This hearing includes testimony from DAV.


Good morning.


Thank you all for being here.


I would like to thank D.A.V.’s National Commander, Ms. Nancy G. Espinosa for being here today.


I would also like to give a shoutout to the D.A.V. Auxiliary National Commander AnnMarie Hurley. Thank you for all you do.


And I’m pleased that there are folks here from the greatest state in the union, Illinois.


I want to especially welcome Don Houghland from my district.


THANK YOU for traveling here from our home state, please stand if you are able, let’s give a warm welcome to these folks. 


Being Chairman is personal for me and my family – and it always will be.


I know the sacrifices each of you have made – especially our disabled veteran community.


Each of you has fought to protect our constitutional rights.


However, for too long, veterans who merely need a fiduciary to help them manage their V.A. benefits, including disabled veterans, have been wronged. 


For years, V.A. has automatically stripped veterans with fiduciaries of their Second Amendment constitutional right to bear arms without any due process.


I am proud to report that the F.Y. 2024 Mil-Con-V.A. Appropriations Act, which recently passed the House,  would protect all veterans’ constitutional right to bear arms, by incorporating a bill that I have championed for years.


I thank Senators Moran and Tester for working with me to get this fixed and know that I will continue to ensure we enact a permanent fix.


D.A.V.  plays a vitally important role in making sure we meet the needs of disabled veterans.


You – like me – understand the struggles veterans, their families, and their survivors face.


You know where V.A. is falling short.


D.A.V.’s great advocates here in DC and across the country make a difference.


You have my commitment that we will continue to fight for you – and the voices you represent – just as hard as you fought for us.


As you all know, the PACT Act is the largest expansion of healthcare and benefits for veterans and their families in recent history. And we’re going to make sure V.A. gets it right.


And when they make mistakes, I’ll be the first to hold them accountable and get answers for you.


Looking ahead, I’m focused on making improvements where we can to modernize V.A.’s delivery of care and services.


We made great progress improving the V.A. claims and appeals process when we passed the Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act. 


But we must make sure V.A. is providing veterans with the high-quality disability compensation exams and timely decisions on their claims, they have earned.  


And we’re going to keep pushing to make sure veterans can get the help that works for them, where they need it.


The bipartisan negotiations we’re in right now to get a package of veterans’ bills to the president’s desk will help us do that.


This comprehensive package includes things like:

·         The Dole Act, VET TEC, and HOME Act

·         Strengthening the community care program.

·         The Dole Act would put veterans in control of where they want to live out their days. 

·         The HOME Act would help homeless veterans.

·         And an expansion of the successful VET-TEC pilot program would help veterans find high paying jobs.

And more.


We will get this package done in the coming weeks.


You may hear some discussion from my colleagues on the other side of the aisle that House Republicans are somehow holding up this legislation.


Nothing could be further from the truth.


As long as I am Chairman, I will continue to work with my colleagues in both chambers to find bipartisan solutions to problems regardless of the actions of others.


Disabled veterans – and all veterans – deserve nothing less.


But make no mistake, our work is nowhere close to being finished.


My door has and will continue to be always open to you.


I promise to keep up the fight we are all in together. Now is not the time to take our foot off of the gas.


And I will ensure that V.A. gets the budget it needs to complete its goal.


I look forward to meeting that mission alongside all of you.


Thank you, again, for being here today. With that, I yield back. 
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