Shinseki Delivers 'State of VA' Message to Congress

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From Reuters: Secretary Shinseki’s written statement:

Chairman Filner, Ranking Member Buyer, Distinguished Members of the Committee:

Thank you for this opportunity to report on the state of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). We appreciate the long-standing support of this committee and its unwavering commitment to Veterans — demonstrated, yet again, through your support of advanced appropriations legislation for VA. Let me also express my thanks to the Committee and the President for a remarkable 2010 Budget that provides an extraordinary opportunity to begin transforming the Department. We deeply appreciate your confidence and the confidence of the President in building on the 2008 and 2009 Congressional enhancements to VA’s budgets in those years. We are determined to provide a return on those investments.

     

I would also like to acknowledge the presence of representatives from a number of our Veterans’ Service Organizations. They are our partners in assuring that we have met our obligation to the men and women who have safeguarded our way of life. We always welcome their advice on how we might do things better.

Mr. Chairman, this past February, you held a similar hearing on the state of the Department, which allowed me to benefit from the insights and advice of Members of this Committee early in my tenure as Secretary. In turn, I was also able to offer early assessments of VA’s mission and some principles that I felt might help me quickly communicate my intent and direction for the Department. I have learned a lot in the last 8 1/2 months from some truly impressive people at VA; from Veterans, individually and collectively; from the VSOs; from Members of this and other Committees, and from a host of other key stakeholders, who share both the Department’s interests and my personal passion for making VA the provider of choice in the years ahead. My current vectors for this Department remain guided by those principles that I mentioned in testimony in February. As I continue working to craft a shared Vision for the Department, one that will be enduring, we remain guided by our determination to be People-Centric — Veterans and the workforce count in this Department, Results-driven — we will not be graded on our promises, but by our accomplishments, and Forward-looking — we strive to be the model for governance in the 21st Century.

This testimony comprises a nine-month progress report on the state of our Department.

We have been busy putting into place the foundation for our pursuit of the President’s two goals for this Department: transform VA into a 21st Century organization, and ensure that we provide timely access to benefits and high quality care to our Veterans over their lifetimes, from the day they first take their oaths of allegiance until the day they are laid to rest.

Read more at Reuters

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