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Amata meets with veterans in Town Hall Forum to update them on VA and federal services

Amata meets with Veterans
Source: Office of the Congresswoman

Pago Pago — Congresswoman Aumua Amata held a town hall meeting with veterans in American Samoa to discuss the status of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and other federal services, including the partial federal government shutdown.

The purpose of a town hall meeting is to speak face-to-face with constituents, hear their concerns directly, and update them on the work being done in Washington that affects American Samoa and Veterans.

“It’s an honor to represent American Samoa and our many veterans in Washington, D.C., and I want to say thank you to so many for coming to the meeting,” said Aumua Amata. “I’m pleased to let them know that the VA is operating and not impacted by the shutdown of some other departments, and that VA reforms are underway to improve future services.”

The Congresswoman heard from veterans, and passed along some information on the status of VA reforms. A series of legislations over the past two years is producing extensive VA reforms, but in some cases, the full transition to improved policies or technology will take months and even years, due to the scope of change or the size of the department.

A number of the Veterans Committee hearings have been providing oversight over these ongoing efforts as the department follows the new laws.

Additionally, a new VA Secretary, Robert Wilkie, took leadership of the department in July 2018, and in a response to Rep. Amata in a December hearing, he said he plans to take a trip that would include American Samoa to gain firsthand knowledge of the Pacific region’s veterans and their VA care.

Over the holidays, Amata also visited members of the military — our “future veterans” — serving overseas, and is pleased to report to American Samoa’s many military families that the partial government shutdown does not affect their loved one in uniform. The Armed Forces are funded, and their military pay is funded.

“In American Samoa, we love our veterans, our military families and those serving the country right now all over the world,” continued Congresswoman Amata. “It was a pleasure hearing from so many this week, both at the Veterans Town Hall and speaking to many constituents each day here. As I head back to Washington, I want you to know that many members in Congress would like to work together to see this partial government shutdown end, so I remain hopeful that progress could be made soon.”