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Veterans organizations support Biden pick to head the VA

The Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) and Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) are supporting President-elect Joe Biden's choice for Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs, Denis McDonough.

McDonough, who is a devout Catholic, a bond he also shares with Biden, served as chief of staff during Obama's entire second term, also worked as deputy national security adviser. If confirmed, Denis McDonough will be responsible for the healthcare and benefits of millions of veterans.

If confirmed, the WWP says they are looking forward to working closely with McDonough.

"We will continue to be a resourceful and knowledgeable partner to the VA in providing the programs and services so essential to effective transition back into civilian life for our nation's wounded, ill, and injured veterans and their families," the organization stated in a release.

"Throughout his time as Deputy National Security Advisor and later as White House Chief of Staff, Mr. McDonough helped address complex issues facing military servicemembers, veterans, and their families, bringing a whole-of-government approach to issues facing the Department of Defense and VA," said WWP CEO Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Mike Linnington. "Having spent time with Mr. McDonough in Afghanistan in 2009, and again in the Pentagon between 2013-2015, it's clear he cares deeply for this critical work."

While a number of military organizations had hoped for a veteran from the Iraq or Afghanistan wars, the PVA wants to see goals and overall vision for the VA that McDonough, who did not serve in the military but was tapped no doubt for his seasoned experience navigating bureaucracies on Capitol Hill and at the White House.

"Our members need a VA Secretary who will effectively address the barriers to care that they and other veterans face. Veterans also deserve a secretary who will be transparent and partner with PVA and other veterans service organizations in a fully open and collaborative manner to take on the tough issues facing VA," said PVA Executive Director Carl Blake, reminding the public that the VA healthcare system is the preeminent provider of healthcare for their members, who are all veterans with spinal cord injuries or diseases. "This includes the need to provide a system of care for all veterans that is safe, harassment-free at all levels, accessible to any veteran seeking care, and efficient in delivering timely, quality care and benefits.

"If confirmed, we look forward to working closely with Mr. McDonough on these issues." Several veterans groups were hoping Biden would choose a veteran of the Iraq or Afghanistan wars. McDonough did not serve in the military, but rather has long experience navigating bureaucracies on Capitol Hill and at the White House.

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