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The White House

Readout of the President's Meeting with the National Commander and Executive Director of the American Legion

Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release                                                   August 4, 2009

Readout of the President's Meeting with the
National Commander and Executive Director of the American Legion
The President just concluded a very productive meeting with the National Commander of the American Legion, Dave Rehbein and the Executive Director of the American Legion, Peter Gaytan. The President and Rehbein began the meeting by discussing the President’s historic VA budget increase that will provide the resources America’s veterans have earned. Rehbein thanked the President for his commitment to veterans, expressing his appreciation for the President’s support of Advanced Appropriations – a policy that should ensure Veterans’ medical care is never dependent on Washington budget politics.
Following yesterday’s launch of the Post-9/11 GI Bill, the President and Rehbein shared their sense of what this benefit – the most extensive educational assistance program authorized since the original GI Bill was signed into law in 1944 – will mean for the newest veterans. The President stated that he and the First Lady were happy to see that eligible service members will be able to transfer these benefits to family members.
Gaytan stated that the Administration was moving in the right direction to tackle the claims backlog issue. Gaytan was pleased to see that the Administration was looking to innovative technological solutions in solving this problem.
The President and Rehbein spent the second half of the meeting discussing health care. Rehbein and Gaytan highlighted that the President’s budget provides more access to VA health care by expanding coverage to 500,000 veterans who were previously excluded. The President reinforced his commitment to ensuring that the Department of Veterans Affairs provides America’s veterans the highest-quality health care possible. The President assured Rehbein that the VA Healthcare system will continue to be available for all eligible veterans and that the current legislation in the House of Representatives enables those covered by VA care to meet the individual responsibility mandate.