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Hon. Michael H. Michaud, Ranking Democratic Member, Subcommittee on Health

I would like to thank everyone for coming today.

Today’s legislative hearing is an opportunity for Members of Congress, veterans, the VA and other interested parties to provide their views on and to discuss introduced legislation within the Subcommittee’s jurisdiction in a clear and orderly process.   

We have seven bills before us today which address a number of important issues for our veterans and provide the staff of the Department of Veterans Affairs with the necessary tools to provide the best care for our veterans.  First, we have two bills to help veterans with post-deployment mental health issues through training service dogs.  The remainder of the legislation covers a wide range of topics, such as improved TBI care, sexual assault prevention, facilities construction, and Spina Bifida. 

We will also examine my bill, H.R. 2530, which seeks to increase flexibility in payments for State Veterans Homes.  It would require State Veterans Homes and the VA to enter into a contract for the purpose of providing nursing home care to veterans who need such care for a service-connected condition or have a service-connected rating of 70 percent or greater.

I look forward to hearing the views of our witnesses on the bills before us today.

Madam Chair, I yield back.