February 09, 2021
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) released the following statement after he voted to confirm Denis McDonough as Secretary of Veterans Affairs:
“Maine has one of the highest percentages of veterans per capita in the nation – they’re our family, our friends, and our neighbors,” said Senator King. “These veterans have shown great courage and sacrifice in service to our country, and continue to play a vital role in communities across our state; we owe them the timely, high-quality care they have earned, especially during this once-in-a-generation pandemic. The VA is critical to Maine veterans, from the services provided at Togus to the care available closer to home through Community Based Outpatient Clinics and the Community Care Network.
“The VA is essential for our veterans, and requires strong, experienced leadership. After decades of public service, including four years as chief of staff to President Obama, it is clear that Denis McDonough has the skills and the background required to defend and strengthen the care America provides for our veterans. In the weeks and months ahead, I look forward to working with Secretary McDonough to protect and strengthen the VA’s ability to serve Maine veterans. He has pledged to ‘fight relentlessly’ for our veterans, and I look forward to him bringing this aggressive approach to the VA’s operations.”
Senator King has worked to make sure veterans receive the highest quality of care during the coronavirus crisis. In December, bipartisan legislation cosponsored by Senator King to address a gap in care for veterans living with early stage-dementia was signed into law, ensuring that the Maine Veterans Home can continue to provide care to these veterans. He joined a bipartisan group of Senators in September to urge the VA to provide coverage of comprehensive telehealth services, including voice communication, for beneficiaries. He also cosponsored the TRICARE Prescription Relief Act, legislation that would authorize the Secretary of Defense to waive prescription cost-sharing requirements for military servicemembers, veterans, and their families during a declared national or public health emergency.
Senator King joined 16 of his colleagues in May to urge the VA to ramp up coronavirus testing at VA facilities nationwide and establish a framework for a large-scale strategy for national testing. He has also joined the Maine delegation to urge the VA to prioritize providing additional testing kits and PPE to the VA Maine Healthcare System, and successfully urged the Treasury Department to ensure that recipients of benefits through the VA will receive their CARES Act stimulus payment with no additional action required.