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In-town print pool No. 1
Alex Leary • Tampa Bay Times
April 19, 2017: 12:18 PM


POTUS signed S. 544, the Veterans Choice Program Extension and Improvement Act, in the Roosevelt Room. The program allows veterans to seek private care.

POTUS entered the room at 11:32 a.m. and the event went until 11:40 a.m. He announced a veterans news conference to be held next Thursday.

"The veterans have poured out their sweat and blood and tears for this country for so long and it's time that they are recognized and it's time that we now take care of them and take care of them properly," POTUS said.

"It speaks for itself," POTUS said of the legislation, emphasizing it allows veterans to see "the doctor of their choice" and not have to travel long distances to get care. "It's not going to happen anymore."

Still, POTUS called it a good start and "there is still much work to do. We will fight each and every day to deliver the long-awaited reforms our veterans deserve and to protect those who have so courageously protected each and every one of us."

POTUS thanked Rep. Phil Roe (who was in attendance and got the signing pen) Sens. John McCain and Johnny Isakson, veterans groups, VA Secretary David Shulkin. He gave a special notice to "my good friend, Florida Gov. Rick Scott, a Navy veteran who is here with us to represent more than a million veterans from the state of Florida." Scott stood beside Trump and later gave brief remarks.

Some news: POTUS said next Thursday at 2 p.m. (subject to change) "We're going to have a news conference with David and some others to tell you about all of the tremendous things that are happening at the VA, what we've done in terms of progress and achievement."

ROE: "It's a privilege to work with all these great people up here to help make the VA better What we want to do is put the veteran in charge of this process, not the bureaucracy."

SHULKIN: "This is a good day for veterans. This is a great day to celebrate not only what veterans have contributed to this country but how we are making things better for them, and by working together, we're going to continue this progress."

SCOTT: "I know President Trump has been focused on our veterans and our military before he was president and I know he's going to continue to do a great job."

Pool has asked for a list of names of people in the room.



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