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WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) – member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee – today applauded the confirmation of Robert Wilkie to serve as the Secretary for Veterans Affairs. Prior to the confirmation vote, Sen. Moran spoke on the Senate floor in support of Wilkie.

Click Here to Watch the Remarks


Full transcript of Sen. Moran’s remarks:

“Mr. President, thank you. I started my morning in Kansas City, speaking to 4,000 veterans attending the Veterans of Foreign Wars 119th National Convention held in Kansas City. My speech was a message to those Americans who I hold in highest regard – our nation’s veterans, and especially those veterans who are helping other veterans – and I wanted them to know that when they signed up to serve this country they did not do so in support of any political party. Those who served our nation, and particularly those who paid the ultimate sacrifice, did not answer to support, did not answer the call to support republicans or democrats, but they answered for a higher calling.

“Speaking to thousands of veterans this morning and being in a room filled with the characteristics that make this country so great – duty, honor, loyalty, respect – should remind us here in Washington, D.C. that we must work together to do everything possible to ensure that our nation’s nearly 20 million veterans receive the best our nation has to offer. Putting veterans first and setting aside differences has led to a major policy change and vital veteran legislation such as the John McCain VA MISSION Act to reform the VA’s healthcare system.

“Of course, the large part of the task to ensure veterans get the best our nation has to offer falls on the Department of Veterans Affairs. I want our veterans to receive the best care, the best attention, possible from the Department of Veterans Affairs, and, in just a few moments the Senate will vote on the confirmation of Mr. Robert Wilkie to be the secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs. I’m confident that Mr. Wilkie is focused on putting veterans first, changing the VA culture of any complacency – ridding it of complacency – and is ready to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs. Of course, Mr. Wilkie has numerous monumental tasks ahead of him. The Department of Veterans affairs is a massive bureaucracy that has had a number of challenges in the past. And he will be charged with successfully implementing the John McCain VA MISSION Act.

“The MISSION Act, if implemented correctly, will be transformative for the department, and will make certain the VA can continue to serve veterans for generations to come. I look forward to working with Mr. Wilkie to accomplish that goal and I appreciate the interest that the Trump administration has had on implementation of the MISSION Act.

“I judge whether the VA is working for veterans by what we all call casework, which is when veterans seek help from me and my staff because they can’t break down the barriers or navigate the VA’s penchant to tell them no. Right now, we have about 80 open veteran cases and a steady stream of about 30 cases coming from Kansas veterans each month. I intend to be an active participant in working with the VA as they work to implement the VA MISSION Act. I intend to be a constructive participant in the process of making the VA better for Kansas veterans and for American veterans.

“And those in our communities can help as well. It’s not just the Department of Veterans Affairs, it’s what we all do as citizens, as educators, as businessmen and women. One of the first actions is developing access standards and folks can provide their feedback until July 30th – so let us hear from the VFW and other VSOs, let us hear from veterans. Either the VA or my office can help direct you to the Federal Register website to make those comments known. I am pleased we are taking the final step needed in the Senate tonight to provide the leadership, to confirm Mr. Robert Wilkie to be Secretary of Veterans Affairs.”

Item to Note:

  • The Department of Veterans Affairs’ open comment period regarding the establishment of access standards for furnishing hospital care, medical services and extended care services to covered veterans for purposes of the Veterans Community Care Program closes on Monday, July 30, 2018.

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