As Prepared For Delivery:
Good afternoon, everyone, and happy (almost) Veterans Day!
President Biden has made clear that our nation has a sacred obligation to support the men and women we send into harm’s way, and to care for them and their families when they return home.
Supporting our veterans is something we can all agree upon. That’s why veterans’ issues are a central pillar of the President’s Unity Agenda for the nation.
Since Day One, he has signed almost 30 bipartisan bills into law and taken executive action to tackle some of the most important issues facing our veterans.
He signed into law the PACT Act, the most significant expansion of benefits and services for toxic-exposed veterans in more than 30 years.
To date, under the PACT Act, VA has granted new benefits to more than 500,000 veterans and survivors of veterans who were exposed to toxic substance during their military service.
He released a comprehensive strategy for reducing military and veteran suicide.
This included actions to improve lethal means safety, improve mental health care, and support community-based organizations working to address veteran suicide.
The Administration also launched the new 988 Veterans Crisis Line, which has already fielded over a million calls.
Next, he called for increased efforts to end veteran homelessness.
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) issued $1 billion to community organizations to help homeless and at-risk veterans find and keep housing.
And President Biden signed executive orders focused on promoting training and employment opportunities for veterans’ spouses, caregivers, and survivors, as well as improving access to childcare and long-term care for veterans and their families.
This Veterans Day, the President will highlight how the Biden-Harris Administration has delivered more benefits and health care, more quickly, to more veterans than ever before.
VA delivered $163 billion in earned benefits to 6.3 million veterans and survivors.
It processed a record number 1.98 million disability claims
And VA delivered more than 116 million health care appointments.
We’re not done yet.
Beginning this month, VA will expand eligibility for no-cost health care, including nursing home care, to all living World War II veterans.
VA will also now cover health care costs associated with Parkinson’s disease under the Camp Lejeune Family Member Program.
And, under an accelerated timeline, all remaining cohorts of toxic-exposed veterans covered by the PACT Act will be eligible to enroll in VA health care in early 2024.
In addition, the President will also announce the launch of the Veteran Scam and Fraud Evasion (VSAFE) campaign and Task Force.
VSAFE brings together leaders from across government to kick off an all-hands effort to safeguard veterans and their families from predatory actors, with a wide range of resources, consolidated reporting mechanisms, and other tools to help protect veterans from fraud and scams.
These new actions will help us keep up our sacred obligation to veterans and their loved ones. They speak to the President’s laser focus on increasing care and benefits for veterans.
Because for those who have given so much to our nation, it is only right that they get all of the benefits they earned. Thank you. With that, I will turn it over to Deputy Secretary Bradsher. Deputy Secretary Bradsher, I am so grateful to you and your team for your dedication to deliver for our veterans every day.