Our nation is a safer place because of the sacrifices made by our brave men and women in uniform. As a former guardsman, I highly respect the devotion our veterans have for this great country and will continue my strong support of programs that serve their best interests. The well-being of our nation’s veterans is a top priority and there is unquestionably much more work to be done.
Throughout my career in Congress, I have consistently voted to increase funding for vital programs and have fought to expand and improve benefits for veterans. During my tenure as Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee from 2011 – 2016, Congress provided the highest level of discretionary funding ever for the Department of Veterans Affairs – an increase of $21.3 billion or 40%. For more information on veterans benefits that you or a loved one may be eligible for, please click here.
I have also been a strong supporter of legislation that improves veterans’ health care, including a program to assist disabled veterans and their caregivers. I firmly believe that our veterans deserve the very best health care available and that is why I have fought to recruit and train more qualified medical professionals at the Department of Veterans Affairs’ medical facilities.
The numerous accounts of mismanagement, wasteful spending and negligence reported within the VA health care system in recent years are simply unacceptable. As Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, I worked with my colleagues to increase accountability and oversight at the VA, including adding new protections for whistleblowers. In an effort to address some of the most pervasive problems facing our veterans today, the Committee has also prioritized the funding of mental health, suicide prevention, traumatic brain injury, homelessness and PTSD care services. Notably, Congress has also made significant progress in reducing the disability claims processing backlog, ensuring that veterans’ claims are processed in a timely and efficient manner. We have also worked hard to ensure that our veterans have seamless medical care as they transfer out of active duty by pressing the Department of Defense and the VA to develop high-quality, interoperable electronic health records.
Rest assured, I will continue to be a voice for veterans and work hard to always honor their sacrifice and ensure that they receive the benefits they deserve. America is the greatest nation on earth because these courageous men and women served and defended our precious freedoms. I am truly grateful for the millions of veterans that have put their country first and stood up for the values that our nation represents.