The White House, President George W. Bush Click to print this document

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
March 6, 2007

Fact Sheet: Taking Care of America's Returning Wounded Warriors
President Bush Names Bob Dole And Donna Shalala To Serve On The President's Commission On Care For America's Returning Wounded Warriors

     Fact sheet President Bush Discusses Care for America's Returning Wounded Warriors, War on Terror at American Legion
     Fact sheet In Focus: Veterans

The President's Commission On Care For America's Returning Wounded Warriors

Today, President Bush Signed An Executive Order Creating A Bipartisan Presidential Commission To Conduct A Comprehensive Review Of The Services America Is Providing Our Returning Wounded Warriors.  The President's Commission on Care for America's Returning Wounded Warriors will recommend ways to:

  1. Improve The Transition From Deployment To Other Military Service Or Civilian Life.  The Commission will examine returning wounded service members' transition from deployment in support of the Global War on Terror to productive military service or civilian society, and recommend needed improvements.

  2. Ensure High-Quality Services For Returning Wounded Service Members.  The Commission will evaluate the delivery of health care, disability, traumatic injury, education, employment, and other benefits and services to returning wounded service members by Federal agencies and the private sector.  It will recommend ways to ensure programs provide high-quality services.

  3. Increase Access To Benefits And Services.  The Commission will analyze the effectiveness of existing outreach programs for service members and identify ways to increase awareness of and access to benefits and services and reduce any barriers or gaps in these benefits and services.

The President Also Announced Former Senator Bob Dole And Former U.S. Department Of Health And Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala Will Serve As The Commission's Co-Chairs.  In total, the President will announce nine members to serve on the Commission – including the two co-chairs. 

Interagency Task Force On Returning Global War On Terror Heroes

The President Also Directed U.S. Department Of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Jim Nicholson To Establish An Interagency Task Force On Returning Global War On Terror Heroes.  The Task Force will bring together top-level officials from the U.S. Departments of Defense, Veterans Affairs, Labor, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, and Education, as well as the Office of Management and Budget and the Small Business Administration.  It will identify and examine existing Federal services provided to returning Global War on Terror service members, identify gaps in these services, and seek recommendations from appropriate Federal agencies on ways to fill those gaps quickly and effectively.

In Addition, Defense Secretary Robert Gates Has Formed An Independent Review Group To Conduct An Assessment Of Outpatient Treatment At Walter Reed Army Medical Center (WRAMC) And The National Naval Medical Center (NNMC).  The group held its first meeting on March 1, 2007.  It will identify any critical shortcomings and opportunities to improve care and quality of life for injured and sick members of the armed forces at WRAMC, NNMC, and other facilities if necessary, and make recommendations for corrective actions.

A Record Of Commitment To Improving Service For The Men And Women Of Our Military

The President's 2008 Budget Proposal Contains $38.7 Billion For Military Health Care Costs - Doubling Funding Since The President Took Office.  All military members and families and retirees and families receive health care benefits from the Department of Defense (DoD).  Military members on active duty are treated in DoD hospitals and clinics worldwide.  A member severely harmed in combat is retained on active duty and treated in DoD facilities until he or she is granted lifetime DoD disability retirement and health benefits.  The member may also transition to the VA health system for care.

With The President's 2008 Budget Proposal, We Will Have Increased The VA's Health Care Budget By 83 Percent Since 2001 – An Average Of 9.1 Percent A Year.  Overall, the President is asking Congress for more than $86 billion for veterans' services in 2008.  If Congress approves his request, this would amount to a 77 percent increase since the President took office – the highest level of support for veterans in American history. 

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