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
Congressman Mike Turner released a letter from Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, in which the Secretary agrees with Turner’s fight for a Uniformed Standard of Protection for Service members in child custody disputes. The Standard would apply specifically to those cases where service is the sole factor involved in a custody decision.
Congressman Joe Wilson (SC-02), the chairman of the Armed Services Military Personnel Subcommittee, released the following opening statement for today’s hearing on military resale programs:
“Today, the Subcommittee on Military Personnel will conduct its second hearing on non-appropriated fund activities and will turn its attention to commissaries and exchanges—the Department Of Defense’s military resale operations.
Congressman Joe Wilson (SC-02), the chairman of the Armed Services Military Personnel Subcommittee, released the following opening statement for today’s hearing on Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) programs within the Department of Defense (DoD):