Yesterday, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to attend the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Lakeland Community Based Outpatient Clinic. This facility will provide needed health care to Floridians that have served our country and protected our freedoms. I enjoyed seeing the new clinic and meeting some of the individuals that have bravely served in our Armed Forces.
While we have taken significant steps to providing our nation's veterans with better quality health care and benefits, much remains to be done for the men and women that have served in uniform. I was especially proud of a provision I sponsored during the 110th Congress, for example, that provided transferability of veterans education benefits - a provision that was signed into law by President Bush.
During this Congress, I have also cosponsored legislation that I believe are important policies for our veterans. I have included some of those bills below:
Military Retiree Survivor Comfort Act (H.R. 613): This legislation would require the United States to forgive any overpayments of military retired or retainer pay for any period after the death of the recipient through the end of the month in which the death occurs.
Establishing a Select Committee on POW and MIA Affairs (H.Res. 111): This bipartisan committee would investigate unresolved matters relating to any United States personnel unaccounted for from the Vietnam era, Korean conflict, World War II, Cold War missions, Persian Gulf War, Operation Iraqi Freedom, or Operation Enduring Freedom, including those missing in action (MIAs) and prisoners of war (POWs).
Belated Thank You to the Merchant Mariners of World War II Act of 2009 (H.R. 23): This bill would establish a compensation fund providing for a monthly benefit of $1,000 to each individual who was a member of the U.S. Merchant Marines serving as a crew member of a vessel that was operated in U.S. waters by the War Shipping Administration from December 7, 1941 to December 31, 1946.
As these (and other veterans bills) move through the legislative process, I will make sure to keep you updated.