Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued the following statement today about the resignation of Secretary of Veterans Affairs Jim Nicholson. Below her statement is a fact sheet on how the Democratic-led Congress has honored our commitment to our nation's veterans:
"Secretary Nicholson's resignation provides President Bush with an opportunity to break with the Administration's history of underfunding VA health care and work with Congress to meet the needs of America's veterans.
"The President's repeated failure to request adequate funding for the VA has undermined the quality of health America promised to our veterans. A recent VA report outlined 1,000 specific problems at VA facilities around the country. There is also a backlog of more than 400,000 veterans benefit claims waiting to be processed by the VA.
"To bring change to Washington and finally begin to meet the needs of returning veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan, House Democrats passed the largest increase in veterans' health care in the 77-year history of the VA and provided for improvements in VA benefits totaling nearly $12 billion.
"With the VA expected to treat 5.8 million patients in the coming year - including more than 260,000 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans - we must invest in the health care and benefits we promised our returning heroes. I urge the President to appoint a new VA Secretary who will work with the Democratic Congress to ensure that our veterans receive the health care and benefits that they were promised and that they deserve."