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 Joe Wilson (SC-02) issued the following statement after President-elect Donald Trump selected General Jim Mattis to serve as Secretary of Defense:
“"President-elect Donald Trump has made another excellent appointment in selecting General Jim Mattis as Secretary of Defense. General Mattis' recent experience in the Middle East makes him uniquely qualified to address threats to service members overseas and American families here at home. He is a champion for service members and military families with a goal of victory to achieve peace through strength."
Congressman Joe Wilson (SC-02) issued the following statement after introducing H.R. 6123, to designate a National Medal of Honor Museum:
“Recipients of the Medal of Honor showed courage, bravery, and selflessness when defending our country. They deserve to have their stories told in a dedicated museum where all Americans can pay tribute to their sacrifice and learn of their heroism.
“I look forward to visitors across the nation and around the world to tour Patriots Point soon.”
Congressman Joe Wilson (SC-02) greeted veterans from across South Carolina during their visit to the World War II Memorial in Washington. The veterans’ trip was sponsored by Honor Flight South Carolina, an organization that brings veterans to Washington.
“I am humbled to greet our nation’s veterans during their visit to Washington. Meeting with veterans and hearing their stories always uplifts and inspires me,” Wilson said.
Congressman Joe Wilson (SC-02), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities, issued the following statement after the House Armed Services Committee completed the markup of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2017. This legislation would fund our military and vital national security initiatives.