Over the last year, while Washington has been enflamed in debate, thousands of American troops have been stationed far from home and often in danger.
For each soldier abroad, there is a family at home with an empty seat at the dinner table; a father, a mother, a son, a daughter – halfway around the world, not only missing their family, but being missed.
A career in the armed services of the United States requires extraordinary demands and sacrifices – frequent relocations, hazardous duty assignments, overseas service, extended family separations, and long duty hours without extra pay.
Yet, the reason we have been able to sustain a free, strong, and secure America is due to those very men and women who have taken on the grueling demands of military service and committed to protecting our country as a member of the armed forces.
As we enter into a new decade, I have offered my colleagues on both sides of the aisle an opportunity to work together for the good of our nation’s veterans.
This "Vision for our Veterans" plan encompasses six values and subsequent legislative initiatives that I believe would provide world-class care and resources for our veterans.
Uncompromised Care. Plans to expand government-run healthcare should not jeopardize care promised to our veterans. We should oppose increased costs for veterans’ healthcare and prohibit any healthcare reform that would endanger TRICARE and VA healthcare benefits.
Excellence in hospital care. Our veterans should have excellence in hospital care. Our hospitals fall far short of this standard. We must provide oversight and stable budgeting to improve hospital care for our veterans.
Service offered reflects service given. The service we give our veterans should reflect the service and sacrifice they have made for our nation. We must push for oversight and reforms of veterans’ services to ensure timely processing for disability claims.
Support then, support now. When our veterans are ready to move into the workforce or expand their small business, I believe we can continue to support them as they support our economy. Legislation like H.R. 1186 would give eligible veterans financial assistance while training to learn high-demand skill.
Other similar legislation like H.R. 3949, the Veterans’ Small Business Assistance and Service Members Protection Act, would improve benefits for veteran-owned small businesses.
Benefits without strings. Our vision for veterans should include full concurrent receipt so veterans receive both disability compensation from the VA and retired pay or Combat-Related Special Compensation.
Families Matter. The families of our veterans matter. H.R.1182 amends the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act to provide employers a tax incentive to hire qualified military spouses.
Additionally, the Military Surviving Spouses Equity Act, H.R. 775, would allow a spouse to be compensated for a service related death and still receive full survivor benefits.
I invite you to visit my Web site forbes.house.gov to learn more about this plan and to tell me which components you believe are most important.
Without the sacrifices of our nation’s veterans, our nation would certainly not be as we know it today. Our veterans have fought for the vision of our nation.
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