Over the past decade, our Nation has been engaged in contingencies all over the world; most notably, Operation Iraqi Freedom in Iraq and Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. Frequent deployments and training has put a significant strain on our brave men and women in uniform, veterans and their families. As the Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs rebalances and works to build efficiencies, we must ensure that we care for those who dedicated their lives to protect our freedom.
Our veterans should have the finest healthcare our nation has to offer. However, well-documented cases reveal that our VA system has failed to provide the level of care our veterans deserve and the American people expect. To help guide the Veteran’s Health Administration into the right direction, I cosponsored H.R. 4810, which passed the House of Representatives with a vote of 426 to 0. If enacted, this measure will allow a veteran to seek medical care at a non-VA facility if the wait time for an appointment exceeds the goal or if they reside more than 40 miles from a VA facility. 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.
Likewise, the Obama Administration’s attempt to cripple the TRICARE benefit system threatens the health care of our active duty, retirees and their families. As a member on the House Armed Services Committee, I worked with the Chairman Buck McKeon to fight against these attacks, which would unfairly increase enrollment fees and introduce Military Treatment Facility fees.
Additionally, other benefits like decreases in pay and allowances, use of the Commissary, and removal of quality of life programs have also come under fire by the Administration. These programs are critical to the morale and welfare of our troops and help to increase wellness and family readiness.
Brave men and women volunteer to serve in the military because they believe in America and her freedoms. 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 active duty, retirees, veterans, and their families and proud to serve those who have sacrificed so much.
More on Our Veterans
The Military Personnel subcommittee met today to mark up its portion of H.R. 4310, the Fiscal Year 2013 National Defense Authorization Act. Chairman Joe Wilson made the following opening statement:
"The Chairman’s mark in front of you is the product of an open, bi-partisan process.
"The mark provides our war fighters, veterans and their families the care and support they need, deserve, and have earned; while ensuring that proposed drawdown plans do not cut to the heart of the Army and Marine Corps. Specifically, this year's proposal will:
This morning, Congressman Joe Wilson (SC-02) hosted a roundtable with military, business, and community leaders to discuss the potential impacts of sequestration on South Carolina. Due to the passage of the Budget Control Act of 2011, the Department of Defense is expected to suffer an automatic $600 billion budget cut. These cuts will not be used to reduce our growing national deficit, but instead will be shifted from defense to other departments and agencies.
Congressman Joe Wilson (SC-02), Chairman of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Military Personnel released the following statement in appreciation of our Nation’s veterans.
“Every year on Veterans Day, we are reminded how blessed our nation is by our Armed Forces. As a 31-year veteran, as well as a proud father of four sons serving in the military, I know first hand the sacrifices these dedicated individuals and their families have made for this country.
America is blessed by our Armed Forces.
They are the most effective military in history to achieve peace through strength. The men and women who wear U.S. uniforms are not only brave, they are volunteers who have made defending our freedom their life’s work. Americans have long understood that to preserve our military we have to treat those willing to fight as well as we can.
The House Armed Services Committee’s Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee and Military Personnel Subcommittee held a joint hearing today on “Update on Arlington Cemetery Reforms,” following the Report to Congress released earlier in the week. Chairman Joe Wilson (R-SC) made the following remarks: