Idaho Examiner - Sen. Larry Craig News Releases

Friday, December 10, 2004

CRAIG SEEKS VETERANS’ AFFAIRS COMMITTEE CHAIR

Announcement comes as changes swirl through Washington, D.C.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Idaho Senator Larry Craig announced today that he has decided to step down as chairman of the Special Committee on Aging and seek chairmanship of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee.

“I am not leaving Aging Committee issues behind, because I will still serve as Chairman of the Subcommittee on Economic Security on next years’ White House Conference on Aging. I will also continue to press forward with legislation important to America’s senior citizens – in such areas as long term care, Medicare, flu vaccines, Social Security and more,” Craig said.

Craig’s decision comes just as the White House announced today that Jim Nicholson will be nominated as Secretary for Veterans’ Affairs. Nicholson, who will face a Senate confirmation hearing early next year, will replace Anthony Principi, who announced Wednesday that he was stepping down.

Approximately 122,000 military veterans reside in Craig’s home state of Idaho. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that there are 29.4 million veterans nationwide.

About a quarter of the nation's population – approximately 70 million people – are potentially eligible for VA benefits and services because they are veterans, or family members or survivors of veterans. The VA operates hospitals and clinics nationwide and spends about $68.2 billion a year.

“The VA is the second largest federal agency in the United States Government and the Veterans’ Affairs Committee oversees its operations. I look forward to taking on this new challenge,” said Craig.

Craig will seek to replace Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Penn., who has been serving as Chairman of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee. Specter is leaving that post to seek the chairmanship of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

NOTE: To link directly to this press release, please use the following address: http://craig.senate.gov/releases/pr120904b.htm.

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