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Remarks on Signing a Veterans Medical Care Bill

June 17, 1981

The President. I'm pleased today to be signing into law this House resolution 2156. This legislation is aimed at maintaining the quality of medical care for our veterans.

Five State medical schools have been established under the Veterans Administration Medical School Assistance and Health Manpower Training Act of 1972, but due to some unavoidable delays, they may lose some of the funds that were allocated to them.

House resolution 2156 provides an additional year for the medical schools to use the moneys that were allocated by the original act. These moneys allocated to improve the health care of veterans will not be withdrawn simply because of unavoidable delays that prevented meeting of artificial deadlines set within the original legislation. We owe more than money to those who wore their country's uniform and sacrificed in our behalf, and will not waiver in our obligation to them.

So, I am particularly pleased to sign this bill which represents a sound and productive program for helping American people. So saying, I'll sign it.

[At this point, the President signed the bill.]

Reporter. Mr. President, why won't you meet with the Vietnam veteran hunger strikers?

The President. This is the only question I'll take on that. Let me explain something about that. We did have -- it wasn't possible for me to get out there. We did have representatives who met with the original group that came in protesting and were demonstrating, you might say. And they were satisfied that we were doing the things that they were there asking for with regard to Agent Orange and the doubling of money for research on that, helping the veterans increasing the -- we're doubling the amount also for the Veterans Treatment Centers, the Vietnam Veterans Treatment Centers, and we are also going forward witha program for what is known as effects of delayed stress. And this latter group then came in and apparently were unwilling to accept that these things had already been agreed to.

So, this was the only reason. The others who had come in and heard the case that was presented left satisfied.

Q. Thank you.

Note: The President spoke at 10:48 a.m. at the signing ceremony in the Roosevelt Room at the White House.

As enacted, H.R. 2156 is Public Law 97 - 15, approved June 17.