Today Congresswoman Chellie Pingree met with Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Erik Shinseki during a tour of the VA Togus Medical Center in Augusta. During the meeting, Pingree raised concerns brought up by veterans at a roundtable she held yesterday at the Scarborough Veterans Home.
"I was excited to meet the Secretary and have an opportunity to ask him about the issues facing veterans in our state," said Pingree. "I was pleased to hear about the VA's efforts to deal with its long backlog of veterans' claims, which was a major concern to the veterans I spoke with yesterday. The frustration veterans are experiencing while trying to claim the benefits they deserve is keeping many from even trying--that's simply unacceptable."
Secretary Shinseki also spoke with Pingree about efforts to meet the VA's goal of ending veteran homelessness in the next five years. In March, Pingree supported legislation that passed the House to increase funding for the effort.
"The department is taking the right steps in dealing with a terrible epidemic that impacts 325,000 veterans every year," Pingree said. "Our veterans answered the call when we needed them. We can't turn our backs when they need our help now."