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These are critical times for the Veterans Administration, so I welcome President Bush's swift nomination of Vietnam veteran Jim Nicholson as the Department's next Secretary. I also applaud outgoing-Secretary Principi's commitment to our nation's vets, and thank him for his efforts to support for the health care system that so many of them depend on.



However, facing an underfunded health care system and thousands of new veterans returning home each month, the challenges are great at the VA. Regardless of the challenges, we must fulfill our promise to these men and women who have done so much for all of us.



I look forward to discussing with Mr. Nicholson his vision for the department and his commitment to serving veterans around the country, from the oldest member of the greatest generation to the youngest soldiers just returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.