- Albania bank loses $7M in theft; police arrest 2
- Gov. Mike Pence irked as Obama sends illegals to Indiana on sly
- Israel, White House say Obama phone call to demand cease-fire was fake
- Nancy Pelosi: Deporting kids un-Christian, sends them ‘into a burning building’
- Islamist militants seize special forces base in Benghazi, Libya
- Feds sue Pennsylvania State Police over women’s fitness tests
- Israel accused of striking U.N. school, killing at least 15
- Israel hits symbols of Hamas rule; scores killed
- Mississippi abortion law can’t be enforced
- Teacher who survived Sandy Hook has book deal
Obama pledges aid to returning troops on Veterans Day
Question of the Day
As his administration struggles to keep its promise on providing veterans benefits, President Obama marked Veterans Day with a pledge to care for those returning from war in Afghanistan.
“Our work is more urgent than ever, because this chapter of war is coming to an end,” Mr. Obama said Monday at a ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery. “By this time next year, the transition to Afghan-led security will be nearly complete. The longest war in American history will end.”
Mr. Obama said in spite of “difficult fiscal choices,” his administration will keep providing “unprecedented” support for veterans, including attacking the notorious backlog of claims at the Department of Veterans Affairs.
“We’re going to keep reducing the claims backlog,” Mr. Obama said. “We’ve slashed it by a third since March, and we’re going to keep at it so you can get the benefits that you have earned and that you need, when you need them.”
While Mr. Obama has pledged to cut into the backlog of benefit claims, his administration hasn’t made as much progress as he promised.
The VA said 400,835 veterans’ benefits claims remain in the pipeline, down about 211,000 since March. The agency, which received its full funding request from Congress in fiscal 2013, hasn’t met projections for how many backlogged claims it would handle; it has processed about 100,000 fewer claims than promised.
VA Secretary Eric K. Shinseki has said the department will eliminate the backlog sometime in 2015.
Mr. Obama also got in a plug for Obamacare at the ceremony, saying, “We’re making sure that veterans not covered by the VA can secure quality, affordable health insurance.”
The president participated in the traditional wreath-laying at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington before his speech.
Speaker John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican, said Monday the sacrifice of veterans is exemplified by Cpl. Josh Hargis of Cincinnati, an Army Ranger who was wounded during a suicide attack in Afghanistan. He was presumed to be unconscious after surgery as his commanding officer awarded him the Purple Heart, but Cpl. Hargis raised his right hand in a salute, an image that went viral on the Internet.
“Like Cpl. Hargis, each of you answered the highest call,” Mr. Boehner said in an open letter to veterans. “We will pledge to do our work so that you can more easily find work and good care. Because of you, our children know what it means to serve with honor and give back to one another.”
Earlier, Mr. Obama hosted a breakfast for veterans at the White House where he met 107-year-old Richard Overton, believed to be the nation’s oldest veteran of World War II.
A member of the Army’s 188th Aviation Engineer Battalion, Mr. Overton volunteered for service in 1942 and saw combat in the Pacific with an all-black unit.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Dave Boyer is a White House correspondent for The Washington Times. A native of Allentown, Pa., Boyer worked for the Philadelphia Inquirer from 2002 to 2011 and also has covered Congress for the Times. He is a graduate of Penn State University. Boyer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Obama: 'Not a new Cold War,' but new Russia sanctions announced
- Kerry's credibility questioned as fighting in Gaza rages
- Hillary Clinton: I was indeed 'dead broke,' but shouldn't have said so
- YALI2014: Obama to meet young African leaders amid economic push
- White House says Russia 'losing' war in Ukraine
Latest Blog Entries
- Obama and Boehner congratulate U.S. men's hockey on win over Russia
- Americans say income gap will shrink if government butts out, poll shows
- WH spokesman Jay Carney recognizes beard's 'insufficiency,' shaves it off
- Obama misses deadline again on budget
- Biden burns rubber in driveway, laments road restrictions
TWT Video Picks
- Patent workers paid to exercise, shop, do chores: report
- Obama thanks Muslims for 'building the very fabric of our nation'
- Boehner rules out impeachment: 'Scam started by Democrats'
- CARSON: Rudderless U.S. foreign policy
- Ticket me Elmo? NYC mulls law for impersonators
- Smugglers, rainstorm combine to poke holes in border fence
- Obama mum on where illegal immigrant children are sheltered
- Federal judge grants 90-day stay in D.C. gun case
- Obama's brother wears Hamas scarf bearing anti-Israel slogans in photo
- Government OKs Arab-owned company Gulftainer to operate U.S. cargo port
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world