the WHITE HOUSEPresident Barack Obama

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The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

Readout of the President’s Meeting with Leaders from Veterans of Foreign Wars

Earlier this afternoon, the President met with Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Commander-in-Chief William A. “Bill” Thien and Executive Director Bob Wallace in the Oval Office.  The President started the meeting by reiterating his thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of those killed and wounded during the recent shooting at Fort Hood.  The President commended the military personnel, first responders, and medical staff who responded swiftly to the horrific shooting. 

The President discussed key steps his Administration has taken to ensure that our veterans receive quality health care, get the benefits they have earned, and have access to the education and training they need to re-enter the workforce.  The President also raised the issue of military and veterans mental health and suicide prevention and thanked the VFW for its work to ensure that those seeking assistance are able to obtain it.

The leaders from the VFW brought up the issue of sequester, and asked that the President continue to ensure that Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) services are not impacted. The President noted that he has increased VA’s budget since he came into office and that he would continue to make VA funding a top priority.  On the issue of the disability claims backlog, the President noted the VA has made great progress, cutting the backlog by more than 40 percent in the last year, but that there is more work to be done.  The President has previously announced that he remains committed to eliminating the disability claims backlog in 2015.  Leaders from VFW also asked the President to convey their thanks to First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden for their work through their Joining Forces initiative to support and engage veterans and military families.