Thursday, July 22, 2010

Air Force Times: Obama to speak at DAV National Convention

Written by Rick Maze - Staff writer, military Times group

(Air Force Times) - President Obama will speak Aug. 2 in Atlanta at the national convention of Disabled America Veterans, an election-year appearance where he will point to a long list of accomplishments made by his administration in improving veterans’ programs, White House officials said Thursday.

Obama’s appearance will come on the third day of the four-day annual convention of one of the nation’s biggest veterans groups. DAV has worked closely with the administration on many issues, but it remains critical of difficulties facing veterans who are trying to receive benefits and treatment for service-connected disabilities.

DAV was the only veterans service organization invited to speak at a July 13 Veterans Affairs Department news conference at which VA unveiled its relaxed rules for providing benefits for and treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder.

Testifying in June before the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee about problems with processing veterans’ disability claims, DAV’s national legislative director, Joseph Violante, gave the Obama administration credit for trying to improve things even though the backlog of claims continues to grow.

“There are reasons to be optimistic,” Violante said. “Over the past six months, with mounting pressure from DAV and other veterans’ service organizations, there has been a welcome increase in attention from Congress and the administration” to problems with claims, he said.

Obama will not be the first president to appear before DAV. President Clinton spoke to the group in 1996 in New Orleans, and President Ford spoke in 1976 at the dedication of DAV’s national service center and legislative headquarters in Washington, D.C.

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