Saturday, Vice President Biden spoke with the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) at their 91st National Convention in Las Vegas.
The 1.2 million-member DAV is made up exclusively of men and women that have been wounded while defending the nation. This group is dedicated to one, single purpose – building better lives for all our nation’s disabled veterans and their families.
The Vice President thanked the men and women for their service and sacrifices and for continuing to serve by supporting their fellow disabled veterans. He also encouraged them to continue fighting for the benefits that they have earned, need and deserve.
During his address to a crowd of almost 4,000 disabled veterans, Vice President Biden stressed, “Let me be crystal, absolutely crystal clear: we’re going to keep our commitment to American veterans, no matter what happens.”
The Vice President reviewed the promises President Obama has kept by increasing the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) budget to a historic $127 billion; expanding health care to 800,000 veterans; providing access to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) treatment for over 500,000 veterans previously excluded; building the National Intrepid Center and five new polytrauma centers specialized in treating PTSD, traumatic brain injury (TBI), and amputations; continuing to modernize the entire VA claims system; providing monthly support and health insurance to family caregivers; and providing $4 billion to over 130,000 veterans who had suffered from Agent Orange exposure but were denied coverage for decades.
On jobs, the Vice President reinforced President Obama’s unwavering commitment to find jobs for every returning veteran. Since the President issued his challenge to private businesses last August, they have hired over 90,000 veterans and spouses through First Lady Michelle Obama’s and Dr. Biden’s “Joining Forces” initiative, with 1,700 companies pledging to hire 175,000 by the end of next year. The President also provided tax credits to businesses hiring veterans and disabled veterans and funded COPS and SAFER grants to hire veterans as first responders.
Vice President Biden also stressed that “there’s a lot more to do” and that the President and he would not rest until veteran unemployment and VA backlog are eliminated and every veteran receives the medical care that they deserve.
The Vice President concluded by saying, “… the contributions of each -- each of you have made to our nation is going to outlive us all. You’ve propelled America to heights our predecessors could not have even imagined. You’ve preserved our cherished liberties from -- for generations to come, and they’ll endure because your blood runs deep. Your blood runs deep not only in the soil of other countries, your blood runs deep in the veins of your kids and your grandkids and your great grandkids. So to ensure all this, we have to just make sure we remember -- we remember -- all the time the sacrifice you made.”
Donald Cloud is Special Advisor to the Vice President for Defense & Intelligence in the Office of the Vice President.