Men and women whose lives are a testimony to loyalty received a message of loyalty from their commander in chief on Sunday.
“You backed me and I back you. That’s the way it works,” Trump said Friday as he signed the Veterans Administration’s 2019 budget into law.
The budget funds the VA at $86.5 billion for fiscal 2019, according to Military Times.
The budget includes an increase for the VA Mission Act, which increases the ability of veterans to access private health care, with the bill borne by the taxpayers they served. The VA also received increase for programs related to opioid abuse and suicide prevention, the White House said.
Trump signed the law at the North Las Vegas VA Medical Center in Nevada.
“To every veteran here today: We are eternally grateful for your noble service to our nation,” Trump said Friday at the signing event, according to a White House media pool report.
“And we’re fighting to make sure that you get the care that you so richly earned. And today’s legislation is one more promise that the Trump administration is keeping. And we’ve done a lot of promises, and we’ve kept them all. And this is another one for the veterans.
“With this funding bill, we’ve increased the VAs budget to the largest ever. We are delivering the resources needed to fully implement crucial VA reforms … and to deliver for our great veterans, just the way I said I would constantly on the campaign trail. You backed me, and I back you. That’s the way it works, right? That’s the way it’s supposed to work in life,” Trump said.
Promises Kept for our GREAT Veterans! pic.twitter.com/C0h8cW4FuH
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 21, 2018
Trump said the bill gives veterans the long-overdue options that they have deserved.
“Today, for the first time in American history, I am about to sign a bill that will fully and permanently give our great and cherished veterans choice, so you don’t have to wait on line for 18 days to take care of a simple … I mean, we had people waiting on line with a simple problem that, by the time they saw the doctor, they were terminally ill,” Trump said.
“No more of that. If you have a line, you go see a doctor. You get yourself taken care of. We take care of it. OK? Good,” Trump said.
During the event Trump introduced Vin Putignano, a Vietnam veteran. Putignano said he was “a 100-percent disabled Marine Corps combat veteran, who had the privilege of serving (his) country during the Vietnam War.”
“I was a part of the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marines, 3rd Marine Division,” he continued.
Putignano praised the VA Choice program for helping him deal with unpleasant realities.
“I’m getting old. I think a couple of us in here are, too,” he said to laughter from the assembled veterans. “But with this age thing comes, you know, special needs problems. I got a bad heart, got cancer, and just plain old getting old. You know? It’s a pain.”
Putignano said not only did he get the attention he needed through VA Choice, he also received a house call.
“I want to thank you, Mr. President, for the commitment that you have made to myself and to my brother and sister veterans, and those of us from World War II right up to the current time of our existence — of our military people. No longer do they have to — as you just said, do they have to go and stand and wait, and not get the proper care. That’s all gone away. That’s all because of you, and because of your staff and your government. And must I say — I must say that I really am impressed with the fact that you and your government are really focusing on making the country’s promise to us a reality. Because you know what? We earned it,” Putignano said.
Trump then underlined his commitment to veterans.
“In everything we do, and everywhere we go, we are committed to safety, prosperity, and opportunity for all Americans and for every hero who wears the uniform. And that’s really why I am here today. I love those people who wear that uniform. I love our law enforcement, the job they do. Our firemen and women. These are incredible people. And I think, for the most part, our nation is beginning to realize it, maybe more than they ever have before. Incredible people,” Trump said, adding, “We are ensuring that our brave veterans are respected and cherished like never before.”