(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) released the following statement after President Obama delivered remarks about plans to improve veteran’s care.
”Our troops, veterans, and their families serve and sacrifice for all Americans every single day. They have earned nothing less than our complete support, but for too long their sacrifices have failed to be counted as a cost of war.
“I applaud the efforts of President Obama, Secretary Gates, and Secretary Shinseki to work to meet the health care needs of our veterans. It is critically important that veterans have the very best care at every step, and that requires partnership, dedication, and a strong commitment from the federal government.
“Today we saw a major step forward in the effort to provide a seamless transition from the battlefield to the VA. Ensuring that where our service members go, their medical records follow, is an essential part of providing them with the quality care they have earned. The creation of the Joint Virtual Lifetime Record will reduce mistakes, clear up red tape, and close gaps in care between VA and DOD.
“When it comes to budgeting, our veterans never deserve the short end of the stick. Budget delays and uncertainty should never be barriers to care. That’s why I will be working closely with the Administration to ensure that our VA facilities are operating with the predictability they need to care for our veterans.
“Reforming the VA is not going to be easy. But President Obama has made clear that he is going to work with Congress to transform the VA into the 21st Century enterprise it needs to be. And that starts with a budget that meets the needs of all of our veterans.
“This VA budget is the sharp turn that will begin our course correction. It includes an historic increase of $25 billion over the next five years that will not only prepare the VA for the influx of new veterans, but will also help meet our obligations to the veterans of conflicts of the past. The VA has a lifetime commitment to those who have served, and this budget reflects that.
“I’m also pleased that this budget moves forward with the process of opening the doors of the VA to more veterans. This is an important step forward in restoring the promise we make to all veterans when they sign up to serve – the promise that says that regardless of how much money you make, or when your health declined, you will be entitled to VA medical care.
“Our veterans have long heard rhetoric about meaningful improvements to their care. What they demand and deserve is action. It’s clear that this Administration is committed to taking action.”