Issue Position: Honoring America's Veterans
Colorado is home to over 400,000 veterans. After visiting with many of them over the past year along the campaign trail, Bob is convinced his strong advocacy for veterans during his years as a U.S. Congressman and as a Colorado State Senator was the right thing to do.
After years of service and devotion, all veterans should be able to count on their country for support. Bob Schaffer remains committed to providing America's veteran soldiers, marines, sailors and airmen - and their families - with the best in medical care, education and other veteran benefits. They answered our country's call when it was necessary to protect our way of life, and today America cannot turn its back on its obligations when these same men and women need help.
During his six years in Congress, Bob worked tirelessly to protect the programs that serve veterans and retired military members. Bob's service to veterans in the Congress and the Colorado State Senate earned him awards and recognition by multiple veterans groups and organizations. America's military retirees deserve the best and our current system needs to be reformed to offer more choices and greater independence for veterans.
Bob will continue that fight as Colorado's next U.S. Senator not only for our current veterans, but for our active military members and for our future generations who fight on our nation's behalf.
Know the Difference:
--Supports increasing funding for veterans benefits by offsetting spending on lesser-priority programs. (H.R. 2620, RC Vote #281, 7/26/01)
-Supports protecting the American flag from desecration - a high priority of the American Legion. (H.J.Res.36, RC Vote #232 7/17/01) (H.J.Res.36, RC Vote #232 7/17/01)
-Opposes increasing funding for veterans benefits by offsetting spending on lesser-priority programs. (H.R. 2620, RC Vote #281, 7/26/01)
-Opposes protecting the American Flag from desecration - a high priority of the American Legion. (H.J.Res.36, RC Vote #232 7/17/01)
Bob Schaffer's vision for supporting veterans:
Bob has made several policy presentations to citizen groups and civic organizations throughout Colorado over the past year. The topic of supporting veterans has been a frequent theme. Following are some of the ideas Bob has proposed on the campaign trail:
* Enact predictable funding for the veterans health care system. Routine political bickering in Congress delays decisions making proper health care planning impossible. This costs veterans money and quality care. Bob believes Congress should consider a funding mechanism to ensure more predictable funding for the veterans health care system.
* Stop raiding maintenance and construction budgets to make up for medical care shortfalls. Bob believes Congress must do a better job of setting and following through on funding realistic health care budgets. Veterans should not have to wait weeks or months for surgery because of shortages due to government's inability to provide the VA with sufficient, timely and predictable funding.
* Provide benefits heroes deserve. A veteran's military retirement pay should not be offset by disability benefits. Bob supports legislation to provide concurrent receipt to our veterans.
* Help more veterans graduate debt free. Bob believes America should improve education benefits for veterans. He supports establishing a matching program providing up to an additional $3,000 per year paid to a college or university in return for the school retiring some or all of the service member's debt.
* Support family caregivers. Bob believes family caregivers of severely wounded and disabled veterans should receive comprehensive support including access to mental healthcare services and financial support programs.
* Treat the psychological wounds of veterans. Bob supports strategies to ensure proper screening and treatment for veterans suffering traumatic brain injury, deploying the best medical practices necessary.
* Pursue other strategies for supporting veterans. Bob supports more strategies for veterans - some may be added to this list at a later date. If you have further ideas on how to support America's veterans, please share them with Bob's campaign.
Bob's record on promoting veterans:
* As Chairman of the State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee of the Colorado State Senate, Bob fought hard to deliver legislative support for state veteran service programs, state veterans hospital services, veteran preference hiring policies and veterans legislation.
* As Chairman, Bob conducted one of the earliest legislative hearings in the country on the topic of Gulf-War Syndrome.
* In Congress, Bob supported increasing a cost of living adjustment for disabled veterans and their surviving family members. (H.R. 4850, P.L. 106-413, 11/1/00)
* Bob organized the purchase and acquisition of "Jubilee of Liberty" medals for World War II veterans who were part of the renowned battle at Normandy, France. The medals were minted by the French government and were originally awarded in France during the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the invasion. Since many D-Day veterans were unable to travel to France for the 1994 celebration, Schaffer made sure all eligible veterans had a chance to be recognized here in Colorado for their courage. Bob organized local Colorado businesses and donors to cover the cost of the medals. (Ft. Collins Coloradoan, 9/26/00)
* Bob cosponsored legislation to allow federal civilian and military retirees to pay health insurance premiums on a pretax basis and to allow a deduction for TRICARE supplemental premiums. (H.R. 2125, Introduced 6/12/01)
* Bob supported legislation to help ensure military personnel overseas retain their right to vote in elections back at home. (H.R. 1377, Introduced 4/3/01)
* Bob helped pass legislation to take care of retired military spouses and families by creating a new life insurance benefit and expanding health care coverage. (H.R. 801, P.L. 107-14, RC Vote #63, 3/27/01.)
* Bob cosponsored legislation to allow the providing of needed medical services from sources outside the Department of Veterans Affairs when veterans would otherwise wait too long for such services in a Department outpatient clinic. (H.R. 435, Introduced 2/6/01).
* Bob supported the Fiscal Year 2003 Defense Authorization Bill which provided for concurrent receipt of military retired pay and veterans' disability benefits for any retiree who had been wounded by enemy combatants or who was deemed at least 60% disabled as a result of injuries received during combat or combat training. The plan also included concurrent receipt for Purple Heart veterans with a combat wound and at least a 10 percent disability. (H.R. 4546, P.L. #107-314, 11/12/02.)
* Bob cosponsored the initial Retired Pay Restoration Act which proposed implementing concurrent receipt. (H.R. 303, Introduced January 30, 2001; H.R.303, Introduced 1/6/99.)
* Bob, along with a bipartisan delegation of lawmakers, lobbied the Department of Veterans Affairs to relocate the Denver Veterans Medical Center (VAMC) to the University of Colorado Health Science Center (UCHSC) and University of Colorado Hospital (UCH) site located at the former Fitzsimons Army Medical Center. (Letter to Secretary Principi, 10/21/02)
* Bob voted for the Fiscal Year 2003 House Budget, which improved the concurrent receipt problem. It contained a five-year plan to phase in full concurrent receipt to veterans with a disability rating of 60% or greater. (H.Con.Res 353, RC Vote #79: 3/20/02.)
* Bob helped pass legislation to improve veteran education and benefits. The new law authorizes $3.1 billion over five years to expand and increase educational, housing, burial, and disability benefits including a 46% increase in the Montgomery GI bill. (H.R. 1291, P.L 107-103, RC Vote #166, 6/19/01.)
* Bob's successful "Valentines for Vets" program encouraged hundreds of Colorado children to show their appreciation for war heroes. Bob distributed the cards to disabled Colorado veterans at the Ft. Lyon VA medical center, Brighton Care Center, and to veteran centers throughout Colorado. (The Baca Weekly, 02/23/00)
* Bob supports protecting the American flag from desecration. (H.J.Res.36, RC Vote #232 7/17/01)
* Bob supported many other proposals to promote veterans services throughout the time he served in the Colorado State Senate, the US House of Representative and in the private sector.
What others are saying:
* "As a veteran, I highly support Bob Schaffer for U. S. Senate. Bob believes in more efficient government. That's why I believe he will insure that the VA will be more responsive our concerns." (Dave Owen, LTC, USA, Ret.)
* The United Veterans Committee of Colorado named Bob "Senator of the Year" for his pro-veteran advocacy in the Colorado State Senate as Chairman of the Senate's Committee on State, Veterans and Military Affairs.
* The United Veterans Committee of Colorado named Bob "Legislator of the Year" for his pro-veteran advocacy in the U.S. House of Representatives.