President Obama said the nation should "work even harder" to ensure medical benefits for military veterans in his weekend address for the Memorial Day holiday. 

As pressure builds on the White House to take action on the VA controversy, Obama said the criticism has refocused his attention on the treatment of veterans after they return from combat.

"In recent weeks, we’ve seen again how much more our nation has to do to make sure all our veterans get the care they deserve," Obama said Saturday. "As Commander in Chief, I believe that taking care of our veterans and their families is a sacred obligation. It’s been one of the causes of my presidency."  

Republicans have accused the Obama administration of attempting to cover up a backlog of veteran's medical complaints they say were allowed to pile up for years. 

Obama said in his address that the federal government would likely have to provide even more care for veterans in coming years with the Iraq and Afghanistan wars winding down now.

"Now that we’ve ended the war in Iraq, and as our war in Afghanistan ends as well, we have to work even harder as a nation to make sure all our veterans get the benefits and opportunities they’ve earned," he said. "They’ve done their duty, and they ask nothing more than that this country does ours – now and for decades to come."   

Obama also asked U.S. residents to take time out from the Memorial Day celebrations "to remember the heroes whose sacrifices made these moments possible – our men and women in uniform who gave their lives to keep our nation safe and free."