Our veterans, who have served during war and peace, have made tremendous sacrifices to protect our freedoms. They are defenders of democracy and have ensured all Americans can continue to enjoy freedom and peace.
I remain committed to holding the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) accountable and ensuring promises made to our veterans are kept. Our service members must have access to safe housing, good jobs and the healthcare they need when they come home. There are still too many instances of our veterans not receiving the care and service they have earned and the VA system not meeting their needs. Veterans deserve to receive their benefits in a timely and consistent manner, and clearing the current backlog will help us reach this goal. I remain concerned as to how the VA healthcare system will reform the delivery of healthcare and do so with the deep fiscal obligations associated with the new healthcare reform.
As a member of both the House Budget Committee and the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, I have been working with my colleagues to find a solution that will preserve pay, benefits and incentives for the military, retirees and veterans and at the same time address out-of-control spending. Ongoing proposals to raise TRICARE deductibles, premiums and co-pays for beneficiaries remain a principle concern for military service members, retirees and their families. I fully understand that TRICARE is an earned benefit, and I am opposed to a “tiered” enrollment fee structure or “means-testing” for service members, retirees and their families. I understand that the unique military retirement and healthcare package is the primary incentive for top-quality people to endure the extraordinary demands and sacrifices inherent in military career spanning 20 or 30 years.
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When the 114th Congress began its session in January of 2015, many Americans had concerns about the direction of our nation, and the job approval of their Congressional leaders was appropriately low. After so many years of onerous executive overreach, House Republicans faced many challenges in the fight to block President Obama’s liberal agenda. There were many times that House Republicans have come close to making common sense conservative progress, only to be shot down by the president’s veto pen.
Our veterans, who have served during times of war and peace, have made tremendous sacrifices for our nation. They are defenders of liberty and have ensured all Americans can continue to enjoy freedom and security. Considering the wide extent of selfless service rendered by current and past service members and their families, it was shocking and inexcusable that Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Robert McDonald recently chose to make light of excessive waiting periods experienced by veterans in need of care.
Throughout the history of the American military, millions of men and women have volunteered to serve a cause greater than themselves, and their families have offered a similar sacrifice to support them. Given their incredible and selfless contributions to preserving and defending the American way of life every single day, it is only right that we dedicate an entire month to honor them and express our sincerest gratitude.
Oklahoma is the proud home of numerous military and National Guard installations. We are consistently among the top states in terms of our number of active duty personnel. And our communities that are the home to these men and women in uniform are the envy of every branch of service. That fact was reflected last week when the House Appropriations Committee, of which I am a member, passed the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs (MILCON) Appropriations bill for fiscal year 2017.