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Hon. Harry E. Mitchell, a Representative in Congress from the State of Arizona


Thank you Mr. Chairman.

I would also like to thank our distinguished panels for joining us today to discuss spending priorities for the VA going forward.

We took a big step earlier this year by passing a VA appropriations bill which made the single-largest investment in veterans’ health care in the 77-year history of the agency.

I am very proud of that legislation, and I know it will make a difference in the lives of millions of veterans and their families.

And while it represents an important step forward, I think we can all agree that we need to do more.

This afternoon, the Veterans’ Disability Commission will release its final report, which will contain important recommendations for how we can ensure that all disabled veterans get the resources they need.  Next week our committee will have an opportunity to hear from some of the members of the Commission, and I am eager to hear about what they have found.

Unfortunately, we already know that our veterans are facing a host of challenges.  They’re encountering increased wait times for care, questions about the safety of their personal information, and difficulties accessing their medical records from the Department of Defense, just to name a few.  We have an obligation to work together to address these issues.

We also have an obligation to provide the resources necessary to help veterans cope with the new and different kinds of injuries they are suffering in Iraq and Afghanistan.  We need to ensure that they have access to treatments for traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder, as well as the latest in prosthetic technology.

We clearly have a lot of work to do, and that’s why I am looking forward to today's hearing.  I yield back.