Chairman Takano Gives Opening Remarks before the Legislative Presentation of Multiple Veterans Service Organizations
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Mark Takano (CA-41) delivered opening remarks before the Legislative Presentation of Multiple Veterans Service Organization at the Joint House and Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Hearing. Organizations testifying included: NASDVA, FRA, GSW, VBA, JWV, MOPH, and MOAA. Below is a link to the video of the Chairman’s opening statement and his remarks as prepared:
Thank you, Chairman Isakson. It is always an honor to join you, Ranking Members Tester and Roe, and all members of the House and Senate Committees on Veterans’ Affairs to hear directly from the organizations that represent millions of veterans and their families who are impacted by our decisions. Like the rest of the members siting at the dais, I take this responsibility very seriously.
First, I want to welcome our partners from the National Association of State Directors of Veterans Affairs, the Fleet Reserve Association, Gold Star Wives of America, Blinded Veterans Association, Jewish War Veterans, Military Order of the Purple Heart and Military Officers Association of America.
I’d also like to specifically recognize members from my home state of California. Will the members from California please raise your hand or stand to be recognized. Welcome!
I am thankful for the opportunity to hear from our VSO partners – many of whom are veterans themselves. Each of you represent a unique group of veterans and surviving spouses, and because of that each of you possesses a unique set of concerns. The Joint Hearings provide us a unique opportunity to hear the focused messages from so many of our VSO partners who do the work every day to help our nation’s heroes.
Congress simply could not deliver on our promises without the dedication and first-hand understanding of the issues that affect our service members, veterans and their families. Thank you for all you do.
With your help, we have identified many problems and fixes to those problems, but the work is far from over. Your continued input as we move through the 116th Congress is not only needed, it is TRULY appreciated.
I ask that you continue to hold the Administration and Congress accountable and ensure both fulfill our nation’s promise to care for our veterans.
If we can afford to send our people to war to protect our country, then this country can and must afford to take care of our wounded when they return.
Reading through your testimony, your concerns are my concerns, and the concerns of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee. The message from you and your VSO cohorts is clear – Congress must keep a vigilant eye on the VA and pass legislation to care for our veterans. Mental health, eliminating veteran suicide, ensuring equal access to quality medical care for all veterans – regardless of gender or disability, and to ensure that access to crucial VA services be available to veterans of all eras should be our priorities.
Outreach and care for women and minority veterans must also be addressed in this Congress. I am pleased that attention for these veterans groups continues to rise. I am glad that the testimony of the National Association of State Directors of Veterans Affairs’ highlights aspects of access hurtles our Native American veterans face. I want to make it clear to you today, that I directed my staff in January of this year to better understand the hurtles that Native American veterans face in attaining earned VA disability benefits, and I plan to identify and implement solutions that will improve the lives of our Native veterans and all under represented veterans in my time as Chairman of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee.
While I just touched on a few issue areas important to you and your membership, know that I am committed to helping advance your priorities in the coming year.
I look forward to hearing your testimony today and thank you again for your tireless advocacy on behalf of the veteran community.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman and I yield back the balance of my time.
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