THE WHITE HOUSE

Office of the Press Secretary
__________________________________________________________________
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                       March 18, 2009

Statement from Press Secretary Robert Gibbs on the President’s Strong Commitment to America’s Veterans:

The President has consistently stated that he is committed to working with veterans on the details of the 2010 VA Budget Proposal. The President demonstrated his deep commitment to veterans by proposing the largest increase in the VA budget in 30 years and calling VSO and MSO leaders into the White House for an unprecedented meeting to discuss various aspects of the budget proposal. In considering the third party billing issue, the administration was seeking to maximize the resources available for veterans; however, the President listened to concerns raised by the VSOs that this might, under certain circumstances, affect veterans and their families’ ability to access health care. Therefore, the President has instructed that its consideration be dropped. The President wants to continue a constructive partnership with the VSOs and MSOs and is grateful to those VSOs and MSOs who have worked in good faith with him on the budget proposal.

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