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Serving our Veterans

July 24, 2015
Blog Post

The brave service men and women, that have selflessly given and sacrificed so much for our country, deserve our lifelong appreciation and respect.

More than that, they deserve our very best — they deserve first class health care and service — they deserve a federal government that honors its commitment to them.

When we as a nation fall short on that commitment, they deserve answers, a long term plan, immediate action and assurance that things will be made right.

It’s been well over a year after we — as a nation — were outraged learning about the travesty of care and treatment our veterans were receiving from the VA.  

The President was said to be ‘madder than hell’

Has anything changed? The sad truth is — the culture within the VA is still broken — ridden with fraud and mismanagement.

50 percent more veterans are wait listed for a month or longer than when the scandal broke

Only two, low-level employees have been fired, and it took just till this week for an employee to face criminal charges. 

Meanwhile, the President has offered no guidance when a permanent inspector general will be in place — it has been over 18 months!

This saddens me. We owe our veterans more! They deserve better! They deserve our best!

We have an obligation, a moral duty, to take care of the men and women who have served and have fought so bravely on our behalf.

Next week, the House will be taking up another bill to change the outdated bureaucratic culture within the VA — HR 1994 the VA Accountability Act.  This bill — as it is aptly named — will increase accountability at the VA. It enhances whistleblower protections, makes it easier for the VA Secretary to fire insubordinate employees and helps change the negligent and deceptive culture within the VA.

This isn't the first bill the House has passed this Congress to put our Veterans first and hold the VA Accountable.

On my very first day as a Member of Congress, l had the honor to vote and see pass the Hire More Heroes Act which incentivizes small businesses to hire veterans by excluding them from the Affordable Care Act’s employer mandate threshold.

That same month, I supported the House passage of the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act which increases access to mental health care resources for our veterans. Between 18 - 22 veterans commit suicide every day. Not all wounds are visible and I was proud to see the bill signed into law in February.

In March, my colleagues and I passed the Long-Term Care Veterans Choice Act which authorizes the VA to provide long- term foster-home care for severely ill and injured veterans.  

I am proud to also co-sponsor the Reducing Barriers for Veterans Education Act of 2015 which allows veterans to pay for university, community college or technical school’s application fees using their GI Bill benefits. 

I’ve also co-sponsored the Military Spouse Job Continuity Act of 2015 which would help ease military spouses’ relocation challenges by offering a tax credit to any spouse who has to renew or transfer a professional license due to their spouse’s military change of station order.

In the 6th District, I will be hosting a series of veterans’ roundtables — I want to hear from all our veterans and understand exactly what problems they have faced in dealing with the VA. We will continue to work until we get to the bottom of this.

Serving our veterans will remain a top priority and I will continue to fight for solutions that will modernize the VA, hold the Administration and the VA accountable and force them to confront the fundamental flaws and outdated bureaucracy that are deep within the department. We need to uphold our commitment to them— we owe them the best.

In the words of Ronald Reagan, “The blessings of liberty which our ancestors secured for us, and which we still enjoy, are ours—only because, in each generation, there have been men and women willing to bear the hardships and sacrifices of serving in the military forces we need to preserve our freedom.

These fine men and women have not sought glory for themselves, but peace and freedom for all. They exemplify the spirit that has preserved us as a great Nation, and they deserve our recognition for everything they have done.”

In service,