"Heroism is latent in every human soul - However humble or unknown, they (the veterans) have renounced what are accounted pleasures and cheerfully undertaken all the self-denials - privations, toils, dangers, sufferings, sicknesses, mutilations, life-" - Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain
Where I Stand Series: Part 6 - Veterans Issues
"Principled Solutions for Empowered Citizens"
ON AMERICA'S VETERANS, I BELIEVE IN THE FOLLOWING CORE PRINCIPLES
All gave some, and some gave all. America's Veterans have seen valor and horror few can relate to, and countless times, from 1776 -- 2010, saved American freedom and preserved hope for our planet. We owe them so much that we can never truly repay their sacrifice.
For those reasons and more, no one could be a stronger advocate for our Veterans than I will be. As the son of a World War II Navy Veteran, and a brother of three Veterans, I have both a personal and policy attachment to America's servicemen and women.
Part of the reason we must balance our budget and reform Social Security is to ensure that our veterans get what was promised to them. In addition, one of the reasons to defeat socialized medicine is to ensure that veterans are not stripped of TRICARE and forced into rationed government run health care.
Our veterans will also find no greater advocate for the families of service members then I will be. While veterans sacrificed on the battlefield, families at home supported their loved one, went through sleepless nights, and suffered anxiety and in some cases, ridicule, for the service of their loved ones. We owe them support, assistance, and benefits.
WITH THOSE PRINCIPLES TO GUIDE ME, I SUPPORT -
*Sustaining the defense budget of at least 4% of GDP to fund both people and weapons needs
* Increase Active Duty, Guard and Reserve force sizes (end strength) to match mission
* Ensuring Active Duty and retired service members have adequate access and treatment in the Department of Defense and VA health systems for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury following separation from active duty service
* Preserving TRICARE and never incorporating Veterans health benefits into a single payer or Medicare system
* Authorizing full concurrent receipt of military retired pay and VA disability compensation immediately -- not phased in through 2014.
* Setting bold VA goals for eliminating wait times, disability backlogs, and for partnering with local medical facilities in areas where distance or terrain prevents Veterans from traveling to VA clinics
* Transition services for Iraq, Afghanistan, and Veterans of other conflicts to ease the transition from military to civilian life -- including job training and placement
* Modify Medicare/TRICARE payment rate formula to attract more providers
* Improving seamless transition between the Defense and VA health care/benefits systems
* Strongly enforcing the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act
* Preserving and expanding the Montgomery GI Bill
* Vigorous prosecution of TRICARE fraud, waste, and abuse
* Authorizing pre-tax payment of health, dental and long-term care premiums
* Authorizing survivors to retain the deceased sponsor's full final-month retired pay