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.
More on Veterans
The Oklahoman - Chris Casteel
The U.S. House easily passed a $585 billion defense bill on Thursday that protects Tinker Air Force Base from some of the Pentagon’s proposed cuts and promises more money for the huge maintenance depot there.
The bill passed 300-119, with all five of Oklahoma’s U.S. House members in favor. It now heads to the U.S. Senate.
Sen. Jim Inhofe, of Tulsa, the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, negotiated the final version of the bill and strongly supports it.
Throughout the history of the American military, hundreds of thousands of men and women have volunteered to serve a cause greater than themselves. By taking an oath to defend our borders, preserve our values and ensure our freedom, these brave individuals understand the true price of freedom. Without question, they deserve our utmost appreciation both during and after their selfless service to our nation.
There is no obligation more sacred than to provide for our service members and their families, both during and after service to their country. Many return from war forever changed, sometimes with both physical and psychological challenges. Especially when these veteran heroes require special care, they should never receive less than the best treatment. As a grateful nation, we owe them that debt for their selfless sacrifice and service.
True patriotism is embodied in the lives of those who volunteered to defend and protect our nation, and their remarkable, selfless acts of service must never be taken for granted. We are forever indebted to them for their service, and they deserve the utmost support and appreciation every day of the year. Not only should they receive our continuous gratitude, but just as they answered the dangerous call of duty, we have the duty to take care of them when they return home from the battlefield.