Maine has over 140,000 veterans -- one of the highest percentages of veterans in the country. Nearly 90 percent of the Maine National Guard has been sent into combat in Iraq. We have an obligation to take care of these veterans -- an obligation that all too often has not been fulfilled.
The VA provides excellent care -- some of the best in the world -- but limited resources and a difficult-to-navigate bureaucracy can put that care out of reach for many vets. In addition, the budget for the VA is making planning difficult and often leads to cutbacks in services.
As a member of Congress, I would support making the VA's budget mandatory, streamlining the application process for services and disability ratings, and fight to improve access, especially in rural areas of Maine.