This is an atta boy for Senator Craig and staff.
While I could care less about increases in budget, as in my opinion the support for America’s Veterans should be whatever that cost is. That is the cost of Freedom not some voted on yearly budget.
After waiting and wading on the BVA as I indicated previously, I can certainly see the need for real constitutional legal representation as an option in the VA (White House directed) adversarial processes from start to end of that process.
I personally believe if more lawyers got involved and realized how one sided and unconstitutional congress has allowed many of these VA process to be; then, as a group (lobby group) they will make it relevant for all Veterans and Widows with regard to Senator Craig’s statement (an accurate statement) of confronting the VA. Total confrontation is exactly what the VA has become.
Although, I disagree with his statement of President Bush’s characterization of the Veterans being the Nation’s best citizens. In my opinion, if Mr. Bush believed that he would stand Mr. Nicholson at attention and summarily dismiss his ass and get someone who would revamp the VA to something that supports Veterans and Families instead of what the White House wants in finding ways to rear end, what he called the Nation’s Best.
Again an atta boy for Senator Craig and I hope he will continue to support VA reform at many levels.
NEWS FROM THE RANKING MEMBER OF THE U.S. SENATE COMMITTEE ON VETERANS’ AFFAIRS
February 28, 2007
Media contact: Jeff Schrade (202) 224-9093
(Washington, DC) At a joint hearing held Tuesday with members of both the U.S. Senate and House Committees on Veterans’ Affairs, U.S. Senator Larry Craig praised DAV National Commander Bradley Barton and thanked members of the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) for their service in uniform and today as advocates for America’s disabled veterans.
"Those members of the military who are harmed while in the service of their nation are our nation’s heroes. I am committed, as is every member of these two committees, to seeing that our nation’s disabled veterans receive the finest care," said Craig, the top Republican on the Senate committee.
The Senator from Idaho noted that since 2001, federal spending on the U.S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs health care system has increased 70 percent. In addition, President Bush has proposed a nearly 8 percent increase for next year’s VA budget.
"I know we share common goals of ensuring that our nation’s veterans are cared for by a quality health care system, compensated by a fair and accurate adjudication process, and honored at the end of their lives," said Craig.
During his comments, Craig also discussed whether veterans should have the right to legal counsel when confronting the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. In December, the U.S. Senate passed and President Bush signed into law legislation Sen. Craig crafted which will enable veterans to hire an attorney during their appeals process with the VA.
Although a wide array of organizations supported changing the old policy, including the Vietnam Veterans of America, Paralyzed Veterans of America, Wounded Warrior Project, Gold Star Wives, and Non Commissioned Officers Association, the new law is opposed by the DAV.
"This law would simply provide veterans with the option of hiring lawyers, if they so choose. If quality, free representation is available from a veterans service organization, such as the DAV, I fully expect most veterans would decide that is a better option than paying a lawyer," said Craig, who also noted that he is not a lawyer – a point which drew a round of appreciative laughter from the audience.
"I believe that veterans – who the President has accurately called ‘our nation’s finest citizens’ – are mature, responsible, and capable enough to decide for themselves whether to hire legal representation."
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is now working on regulations to implement the law. The right to representation for veterans will become effective in June.