Honoring Our Commitment to Our Troops and Veterans
Published in the Barefoot Tattler
Washington, July 1, 2018
As we celebrate Independence Day, let us also take some time to remember our brave men and women in uniform, and their families, who have made great personal sacrifices to defend our liberty. Without their dedication it would not be possible to hold on to our freedoms throughout the years. I wanted to take a minute to share some recent legislative accomplishments for our troops and veterans:
Providing New Equipment and Pay Increases for Troops – The House recently passed the National Defense Authorization Act, which provides important tools that our military needs to protect and defend the nation and rewards our brave men and women for their service. I was pleased to support this legislation to modernize our forces with new technology, replace equipment for the Army and help build up our naval fleet. Altogether the bill authorizes $717 billion for our national defense which also includes bonuses for military service members who work in high-demand fields and the largest pay increase our troops have seen in nine years.
Improving the VA Experience – Congress recently passed and President Trump signed into law the VA Mission Act which makes major reforms to the VA to ensure that veterans have timely access to the care and benefits they have earned. The bill improves the VA’s community care programs by consolidating them into a single system, removing barriers so veterans can receive care closer to their homes and encouraging more community care providers to participate. It also improves the VA workforce by providing more educational and training opportunities for employees and offering scholarships to medical students in exchange for service to the VA.
To further help those veterans who are not happy with the services offered by the VA, the VA Mission Act provides $5.2 billion to the VA Choice Program so veterans have more options for care. It also expands the VA Family Caregiver program to include pre-9/11 veterans and establishes a review process to make recommendations on how to modernize and realign the VA’s medical facilities. We owe it to our veterans to provide the best possible service and this legislation continues to make good on our promise.
Assisting Student Veterans – The House overwhelmingly approved bipartisan legislation I cosponsored to assist student veterans attending colleges and universities under the G.I. Bill. The legislation (H.R. 4830) ensures that veterans will not be penalized if the VA sends late payments to their schools due to paperwork processing delays. This is an important fix for our veterans as many choose to further their education only to face disruptions to their studies because of bureaucracy.
Helping Homeless Veterans with Children – I recently joined my House colleagues in cosponsoring bipartisan legislation called the Homeless Veteran Families Act to assist community agencies with offsetting the cost of providing children of homeless veterans with safe shelter. The bill aims to keep families together during times of hardship.
Honoring America’s commitment to our veterans and supporting our troops has been a top priority for me. If you know of any veteran in our community who is having trouble with VA services, please reach out to them and encourage them to contact my office at 321-632-1776. In fact, please call us if you are having trouble with any federal agency – the VA, the Social Security Administration, Medicare or even the IRS. My staff and I are here to serve you.