Pelosi visits SF VA for Veterans Day

November 10, 2008 6:30:47 PM PST
Monday's Veterans Day ceremony marked the third time in the past 18 months that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has come to San Francisco's VA Medical Center; she says it is part of her pledge to put veterans first.

"We had told veterans along the way, if we get here, we will have a veterans budget that will be what you decide should be in that budget," Pelosi said.

Congress has done more to increase funding for veterans in the past two years than in the previous 12, according to Pelosi, including a significant hike in health care.

"Last year I told you that was the biggest health increase," she said. "This year, we built on it by an additional $4.1 billion to care for wounded warriors."

The Veterans Administration estimates it will treat nearly 6 million patients nationwide this year.

Ethan Drew is one of those treated by the VA. He is looking forward to President-elect Barack Obama's new administration for change.

"The first thing I'd like to see, him bring the troops home like he promised to do; so far, nobody's coming home yet," Drew said.

But Obama does not take office until January. Pelosi describes the Obama transition as organized and on-course and believes the relationship between California and Washington will improve.

"The priorities of California are the priorities of this new presidential administration, the Obama administration," Pelosi said. "Whether you're talking about access to quality healthcare, based on research, stem cell research; whether you're talking about an environment that is safe and clean for our children."

The new congress is expected to focus on the economy, but Pelosi said congress will make sure the men and women fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan are a part of America's economic recovery when they return home.


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