Months after his administration was rocked by scandal at the VA, President Obama on Saturday paid tribute to the nation’s veterans and declared that the government and the American public “can’t ever quit” on them.
In his weekly address ahead of Veterans Day on Tuesday, the president said all veterans must get the health care, disability benefits and other assistance they deserve.
“The end of a war is just the beginning of our obligations to those who serve in our name. These men and women will be proud veterans for decades to come, and our service to them has only just begun,” Mr. Obama said. “Let’s honor our veterans by making sure they get the care and benefits they’ve earned. That means health care that’s there for them when they need it. It means continuing to reduce the disability claims backlog. And it means giving our wounded warriors all the care and support they need to heal, including mental health care for those with post-traumatic stress or traumatic brain injury.”
Over the past six months, reform at the Department of Veterans Affairs has become a central issue in Washington. Former VA Secretary Eric Shinseki resigned in May following a series of troublesome revelations.
Some veterans reportedly died while waiting for care at VA facilities, while some VA personnel allegedly kept false records to hide long wait times for medical attention.
Former Procter and Gamble CEO Robert McDonald now heads the department.
While Mr. Obama has stressed that government must do a better job caring for veterans, he said that burden also belongs to every American citizen.
“This isn’t just a job for government. It’s a job for every American. We’re all keepers of that sacred trust that says, if you put on a uniform and risk your life to keep us safe, we’ll do our part for you,” the president said. “We’ll make sure you and your family get the support you need. We’ll have your backs — just like you had ours.”