“Caring for those who serve and for their families is a fundamental responsibility of the commander-in-chief.
“No veteran should have to fill out a 23-page claim to get care, or wait months — even years — to get an appointment at the VA.
“It’s time for comprehensive reform. When I am President, building a 21st century VA to serve our veterans will be an equal priority to building a 21st century military to fight our wars. My Secretary of Veteran’s Affairs will be just as important as my Secretary of Defense. ”
Barack Obama, August 21, 2007, Kansas, MO
“I’ve pledged to build nothing less than a 21st-century VA. And I picked a lifelong soldier and wounded warrior from Vietnam to lead this fight, General Ric Shinseki.
“And we’re keeping our promise to fulfill another top priority at the VA — cutting the red tape and inefficiencies that cause backlogs and delays in the claims process.
“I know you’ve heard this for years, but the leadership and resources we’re providing this time means that we’re going to be able to do it. That is our mission, and we are going to make it happen.”
Barack Obama, August 17, 2009, Phoenix, AZ
“At the same time, every American who has ever worn the uniform must also know this: Your country is going to take care of you when you come home. Our nation’s commitment to our veterans, to you and your families, is a sacred trust. And to me and my administration, upholding that trust is a moral obligation.
“That’s why I’ve charged Secretary Shinseki with building a 21st century VA. We’re going to keep on making historic commitments to our veterans. “
Barack Obama, August 2, 2010, Atlanta Georgia
“This leads me to another promise I made four years ago — upholding America’s sacred trust with our veterans. I promised to strengthen the VA, and that promise has been kept.
“So when I hear about service members and veterans who had the courage to seek help but didn’t get it, who died waiting, that’s an outrage. And I’ve told Secretary Panetta, Chairman Dempsey and Secretary Shinseki we’ve got to do better. This has to be all hands on deck.”
Barack Obama, July 23, 2012, Reno, NV
“The last time I was with you I pledged to cut the backlog, slash those wait times and deliver you claims sooner. I’m gonna be honest with you, it has not moved as fast as I’ve wanted. Part of it is all these new veterans in the system. It meant a lot more claims, and despite additional resources, it’s it resulted in longer waits.
“And today I can report, we are not where we need to be, but we are making progress. After years when the backlog kept growing, finally the backlog is shrinking.”
Barack Obama, August 23, 2013, Orlando, FL