Serving our Veterans
While serving you in Washington, I will continue promoting efforts to help and protect America’s veterans. As you may know, mismanagement and negligence at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has caused an inexcusable backlog of disability claims and inadequate care for our nation’s veterans throughout the last few years. Media sources have reported on scandals at VA facilities across the nation, and I have heard from veterans in the Second District about long waits and denial of services. This is unacceptable treatment for the men and women who have sacrificed to defend our nation’s freedoms.
Apart from working on this issue for years, I have visited Dorn VA Hospital in Columbia, SC, and Charlie Norwood VA Hospital in Augusta, GA, both of which provide services and treatment to individuals who have honorably served. Although I see encouragement by the officials running each of these hospitals, Congress must continue reform efforts to ensure our veterans receive quality and timely care. If you or someone you know is experiencing issues with the VA or has been impacted by the VA’s mismanagement, please share your story so that my office may be able to help. I urge constituents to share their stories, as your input is vital to correcting problems within the system.
In the House of Representatives, we are currently working to expand veterans’ health care options and restore accountability at the VA. Last week, we passed H.R. 294, the Long-Term Care Veteran Choice Act, to increase the quality of medical care for our veterans. This bill gives the VA authority to pay for veterans’ medical foster home care, which is a long-term care alternative for veterans who are unable to live independently but prefer a smaller, more home-like setting than traditional nursing homes. This bill expands health care choices for veterans, is fully paid for, and results in a cost-savings of $248 million over fiscal years 2015-2020 by capping bonuses paid to VA employees.
Also, we are working to hold VA leadership accountable and help ensure the VA is being properly managed. Many VA executives who presided over negligence and mismanagement received bonuses and awards, which will be rescinded thanks to a bill the House passed last week, H.R. 280. By authorizing the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to rescind bonuses to VA employees after affording the opportunity for the employee to appeal, this bill takes an important step toward restoring accountability at the VA.
I was grateful to vote in support of these two bills, which make the health of our veterans a top priority by holding those responsible for the inexcusable mistreatment of our veterans accountable and giving our nation’s heroes more freedom in their health care decisions.
As a retiree from the U.S. Army Reserve and the South Carolina Army National Guard with four sons currently serving in the U.S. military, I believe it is a top priority to protect and provide for those who fight for our citizens at home.