Rahall Delivers Remarks at American Legion 96th State Convention

From a Rep. Nick Rahall Release

 HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – In remarks delivered Saturday morning at the American Legion’s annual state convention, U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.) commended West Virginia veterans for their service and sacrifice and praised Legionnaires for their efforts in caring for veterans.

            “For God and Country, the American Legion proudly carries on our American traditions.  With patriotic pride, unflappable faith, endless service and selfless sacrifice, again and again and again, you answer the call of your nation.  You have my pledge to keep fighting for you and your families -- just like you keep fighting for our veterans and to keep our Nation strong,” said Rahall to the American Legion delegates from across the state.

            Rahall focused his remarks on now confirmed reports that some VA officials had been falsifying records to hide appallingly long wait times for medical care.

            “Having increased the VA medical care budget by 33 percent since 2009, and with legions of dedicated individuals, many of them veterans themselves, working at the VA and absolutely committed to serving our Nation’s military heroes, the VA system STILL is unable to provide the care and service that veterans and the American public have a right to expect,” said Rahall. “That some veterans may have lost their lives to hapless bureaucracy is intolerable.  The lives and well-being of those who have served our Nation in uniform certainly should not be endangered by long waits, erroneous practices, and shoddy management of the very facilities created to care for our veterans.”

            Rahall noted his support for legislation to ensure that private health providers are available to veterans unable to get timely appointments at VA facilities, as well as his support for additional resources that have enabled the hiring of mental health professionals at the VA medical centers in Beckley and Huntington.

            “Simply put, our veterans do not deserve to be short-changed or suffer unnecessary delays.  The bureaucratic wrongs that harm our veterans must be remedied and real change must be instituted so that things are done better in the future.  Veterans cannot be expected to turn to an agency for help when their faith in that agency has been undermined. That faith has to be restored,” said Rahall.

            Rahall also reaffirmed his support for a Constitutional Amendment to prohibit flag burning.

            “As a Nation, we owe a tremendous debt to those who valiantly served and sacrificed with valor beneath Old Glory. That is why I am again cosponsoring and am the lead Democrat on legislation proposing a Constitutional amendment to return to Congress the ability to protect our country’s flag.  Surely the very symbol of freedom, under which those who bore the brunt of battle served, can find safe harbor in the same Constitution they so nobly defended,” said Rahall. 

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