President Biden said Tuesday that he is “very proud” of the progress made in the first day of his first trip to the Veterans Affairs Medical Center.
Biden said in a statement that he and VA Secretary Eric Shinseki attended the Veterans Administration Medical Center on Tuesday to see firsthand the changes that VA has made to the way it trains and manages its medical professionals.
“Today is an amazing day in the lives of all veterans who serve our country, and I look forward to returning to VA later this week to visit with our veterans and to hear their stories,” Biden said.
“We have made great progress in the last year and I am proud to have the opportunity to meet with so many of them.
I also want to thank our brave service members who have made this VA a better place.
Our veterans are the best of America.
And I know that the people of VA, along with all Americans, will be proud of what has been achieved and the positive changes that have been made in VA over the last decade.”
Biden also noted that the VA is still recovering from Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita, and that there are many challenges ahead, including a backlog of more than 1.4 million applications for medical care.
He also spoke to reporters from his plane at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, where he also was in the briefing room with Shinsek.
Shinseke told reporters on Tuesday that the department has made major progress in recent years, including increasing the number of veterans seeking medical care from more than 250,000 patients to more than 400,000.
Shinseki has been in office since December 2012, when Biden was elected to a second term as president.
He is the second-highest-ranking VA official since the Reagan administration.