Our veterans and their families have sacrificed so much for this Nation. They deserve, and we owe them, the highest level of respect and gratitude. As Chairman of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Military Personnel, I am committed to protecting and advocating for our brave men and women and their families who have or are serving in uniform.
Veterans have access to the finest healthcare our nation has to offer. However, there have been well-documented cases of a system that has failed to provide the level of care our veterans deserve and the American people expect. We need to ensure that those of us in Congress, tasked with the duty of oversight, practice our due diligence and keep our Nation's veteran hospitals in line with the highest standards.
There are other things we can do to respect the sacrifice that has been made by our veterans. As a 31-year veteran of the Army Reserve and National Guard, I have a deep admiration for our Reserve and Guard members. They are the citizen soldiers who serve as our teachers and local business owners, doctors and homebuilders, but who have chosen to wear the uniform of an American servicemember when their country calls upon them. In the Global War on Terrorism, our Reserve and Guard members have taken on a larger and more active role in overseas operations.
To honor this new commitment, I have reintroduced the National Guardsmen and Reservists Parity for Patriots Act (HR 181), which will let Guard and Reserve members apply their active duty service since September 11th, 2001 to a new early retirement credit system that became law in 2008. The credit allows that for every 90 days a member serves on active duty, they will be allowed to begin receiving retirement pay 3 months prior to the traditional retirement age of 60. For example, a member who serves 12 months on active duty will begin receiving retirement pay at the age of 59. Unfortunately, under current law, the credit only applies to service since the enactment of the new law and discounts the almost six years of service since September 11th. I am proud to have reintroduced this legislation, which will honor the 600,000 Reservists, and Guardsmen who have served heroically since September 11th.
Additionally, as a member on the House Armed Services Committee, I have worked with Full Committee Chairman Buck McKeon to fight against the Obama Administration’s proposal to unfairly increase TRICARE enrollment fees for veterans and their families. Our military families have dedicated their lives to serve our country and deserve the care they have earned. It is our responsibility to protect the brave men and women in uniform who have fought to protect us. Throughout the past year, I have also advocated for providing leave time for our military personnel who choose to adopt a child. As an adoptive parent myself, I am familiar with the challenges the adoption process possess. I am encouraged to see that these individuals are given the same opportunity as those who have children naturally.