WASHINGTON, DC -- Representative Mike Michaud, Ranking Member of the House Veterans' Affairs Committee, issued the following statement on President Obama's State of the Union address:
"Improving our economy has to be our number one objective. While the president outlined a number of goals, I strongly support his focus on manufacturing and economic development. In fact, there are two things that he can do right now without congressional approval to help Maine's economy. He should work to level the playing field for American companies by taking action against unfair trade practices, such as the subsidized Canadian paper mill in Port Hawkesbury that is threatening our state's pulp and paper industry. He should also order the Defense Department to comply with current law, which mandates that our military be supplied with uniforms made in America. This would support Maine jobs at businesses like New Balance.
"As the war winds down, more of our men and women will take off the uniform and seek VA services. As such, we must recommit ourselves as a nation to ensuring all who've served and sacrificed receive the support they need here at home.
"However, this is not just a near-term concern. When the war is over, our nation must not move on and forget. Whether it's access to health care, boosting employment, or addressing the claims backlog, veterans of all eras deserve to know that their country is there for them for the long term. We need to codify the nation's obligation and commitment to support the men and women who serve on our behalf. I know our committee stands ready to work alongside the Obama Administration to take the long view and establish a concrete path forward that plans for all our veterans' needs--present and future."