Democrats are proud to stand with veterans who have endured great sacrifice to keep our nation safe and protect our freedom. We are working to improve health care access and treatment for veterans by cutting red tape, modernizing VA hospitals, building VA outpatient clinics in communities where veterans live, and expanding the health services available under the VA. We are working to eliminate the VA disability appeals backlog so that veterans can receive their benefits in a more timely manner and with fewer errors occurring. We are also taking steps to help veterans, transitioning service members, and military spouses find employment.

When Democrats last held both the White House and control of Congress, we kept our promise to take care of our nation’s veterans. Democrats updated the G.I. Bill for post-9/11 veterans to strengthen their access to higher education, and recently supported making the G.I. Bill a lifetime benefit for the first time in history. Democrats expanded employment opportunities by bolstering veterans’ workforce programs and offering a tax credit to businesses that hire unemployed veterans. We also increased the number of VA mental health providers and social workers to meet increased demand, and expanded mental health services. We will continue to respond to the needs of veterans and their families.

Veterans Related

While I believe it is positive that the Acting Director reported this incident to the Inspector General, I am concerned that the current culture in the Baltimore office may have contributed to this occurring in the first place.


In nominating Robert McDonald to serve as our next Secretary of Veterans Affairs, President Obama has tapped the expertise and talents of a successful business leader.


I join in marking the seventieth anniversary of the enactment of the G.I. Bill, which helped millions of veterans of the Second World War afford higher education, attain homeownership, and train for civilian jobs in the post-war economy. 


Democrats continue to closely monitor reports of misconduct at Veterans Affairs health facilities, including the Phoenix VA Health Care System. 


Secretary Shinseki has served our nation with honor and distinction. 


The VA Inspector General's interim report that was released today is deeply disturbing and demands action to correct the systemic problems that left 1,700 veterans off of the electronic waiting list at the Phoenix VA Health Care System. 


Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition to this. I urge my Members to vote against it. I don't know if they will, but I urge them to do so. All of us in this body need to be for accountability. None of us in this body, however, ought to be for turning a civil service system into a patronage system.


The launch of the new Veterans Employment Center today continues this Administration’s strong commitment to easing the transition for our veterans returning home to their families and to the civilian job market.


In 1775, Alexander Hamilton wrote: ‘there is an enthusiasm in liberty that makes human nature rise above itself in acts of bravery and heroism.’ 


“I am opposing this bill because it breaks the principle that domestic spending cuts should not pay for higher defense spending.  


“On Monday, we will pay tribute to all those who have worn the uniform of our country and put their lives on the line to defend our freedom and way of life.


"Today, we salute the men and women of the Armed Forces and recognize the tremendous sacrifices their spouses and children endure with frequent moves and long deployments. 


At a time when the backlog of veterans’ disability claims remains unacceptable, the GOP shutdown is about to make it worse. According to an article by the Hill:

“Regional offices run by the Department of Veterans Affairs closed Tuesday as furloughs began for 7,000 employees of the agency’s Benefits Administration (VBA).”


“Sixty years ago tomorrow, fighting on the Korean peninsula ended with an armistice that brought to a close a brief but poignant chapter in our history in which American troops and our allies once again stood in defense of democracy and freedom.


Each year on Memorial Day, we remember the courageous individuals who gave all they had to protect our nation and the values that sustain our democracy.  In every generation, Americans have been called to take up arms in defense of the rights and freedoms we hold dear – not only for ourselves but for others who yearn for peace, justice, and liberty around the world.


While the effects of sequestration will continue to build over time, our men and women in uniform are already feeling the impact with the Air Force, Army, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard stopping tuition assistance:

AP: Air Force Joins Other Military Branches in Suspending College Tuition Assistance Program


“I join in saluting the men and women who have served our nation in uniform.  Veterans Day is an opportunity to reflect on the courage and dedication of those who put themselves in harm’s way to protect American lives and the values we hold dear.  In particular, we honor our men and women who have recently returned home from Iraq and Afghanistan, and we rededicate ourselves to making sure they can transition smoothly back to civilian life and receive the care they need to heal any wounds they sustained – both physical and psychological.


Just wanted to make sure you saw these twin editorials in yesterday’s New York Times.  The first chides House Republicans for their continued refusal to accept the Senate’s bipartisan reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, leaving LGBT, immigrant, Native American, and student victims vulnerable.  The second makes it clear who is to blame for delaying much-needed postal service reforms. 


I am extremely disappointed that Republicans are asking federal employees to take a freeze in pay for a third year in a row.  Federal employees have already accepted two consecutive pay freezes with the knowledge that the savings would be applied toward meeting our nation’s fiscal challenges.  At the same time Republicans were asking federal employees to contribute, they refused to ask the same of millionaires and billionaires. 


On Memorial Day, we pause to remember the fallen – those brave men and women who, throughout our history, fought courageously and sacrificed all to protect Americans and the values we hold dear. To them we owe our rights and freedoms and express our eternal gratitude. 


Today, the President called on Congress to take concrete steps that will help American businesses create jobs that won’t be shipped overseas.  It is very unfortunate that Republicans in control of the House have chosen to shirk their responsibilities by refusing to consider a comprehensive plan for growing jobs.  Moreover, after a year in the majority, they continue to block Democrats’ Make It In America jobs plan.


Yesterday, Republicans unveiled a more-of-the-same budget for fiscal year 2013 that ends the Medicare guarantee while protecting tax cuts for the wealthy, and puts our economic recovery at risk. The Republican budget makes the wrong choices and places the burden of deficit reduction onto seniors, the middle class, working families, and the most vulnerable by refusing to ask the wealthiest among us to contribute. Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan called on the American people to make a choice between two futures for our nation. Here’s a look at our future under the Republican budget – and the future Democrats envision instead.


I am pleased that Republicans and Democrats in the House and Senate were able to work together to pass this provision of President Obama’s American Jobs Act that will encourage businesses to hire veterans and help veterans find work. Those who fought so hard for our nation overseas shouldn’t have to do so here at home just to find a job. The American Jobs Act, along with House Democrats’ Make It In America plan, contain bipartisan ideas that will get more Americans back to work right away and increase our economic competitiveness in the long run. I urge Republicans in both chambers to follow the passage of this legislation by working with us on passing the remainder of the American Jobs Act and the Make It In America plan. Congress must act now to help the millions of Americans who are unemployed. They cannot wait, and neither can we.