Before address to vets, Obama called out by vulnerable Democrat

Senate Armed Services Committee Member U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC) is pursued by reporters after being briefed by military officials about the prisoner exchange that freed Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl at the U.S. Capitol June 10, 2014 in Washington, D.C.

Chip Somodevilla, Getty Images

President Obama will address the American Legion's annual convention in Charlotte, North Carolina on Tuesday, focusing on how the U.S. can honor its commitments to veterans.

The address comes just weeks after Mr. Obama signed legislation to reform the Department of Veterans Affairs, but he's nevertheless facing criticism over the issue from a politically vulnerable Democrat.

"The Obama Administration has not yet done enough to earn the lasting trust of our veterans and implement real and permanent reforms at the VA," Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., said in a statement. "I hope to hear the President address these challenges at the American Legion's National Convention in Charlotte. I will be there to discuss some of the steps I want to see taken in Washington to uphold the commitment our government has made to North Carolina's veterans."

Hagan, D-N.C., came into office in 2008 when Mr. Obama carried her state. Now, two years after Republican Mitt Romney bested the president in North Carolina, Hagan is considered one of the most vulnerable Senate Democrats up for re-election.

A recent USA Today/ Suffolk University Poll showed Hagan effectively tied with her Republican challenger, North Carolina House Speaker Thomas Tillis. Hagan leads Tillis 45 percent to 43 percent in the poll, which has a 4.4-point margin of error.

The senator, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, will also deliver remarks at the American Legion convention, and her office noted that she comes from "a strong military family."

"Her father-in-law was a two-star Marine General; her brother and father served in the Navy; her husband, Chip, is a Vietnam veteran who used the GI Bill to help pay for law school; and she has two nephews who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan," Hagan's office said.

Hagan is one of several vulnerable Democrats who came under fire in conservative attack ads earlier this year, which slammed President Obama and his party for the handling of the VA scandal. She was, however, one of several lawmakers who called on former VA Secretary Eric Shinseki to resign because of the scandal, and she helped pass the VA reform bill that Mr. Obama signed.

In his remarks Tuesday, Mr. Obama will be "focused on is what the administration has been doing, and will be working to do, to make sure that we live up to our commitment to those veterans, to take care of them when they come home," White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Monday.

The president will also announce a set of new executive actions that aim to improve access to mental health care for members of the military and veterans as well as efforts that the White House says will "improve the transition between DoD and VA care for those leaving military service, and improve economic opportunity for our military families with new private-sector commitments that will make it easier to obtain mortgage interest rate reductions and reduced monthly payments."