Keeping Our Promise to Veterans and Their Families
Perhaps the most meaningful thing I have done as a Congressman was to join other Connecticut leaders to say goodbye to 700 Connecticut National Guardsmen deploying to Afghanistan.
I looked into the eyes of those young men and women and saw pride, competence, and yes, anxiety. They and their families understood the huge sacrifices that a relatively few number of American families make to keep the nation safe. Words alone will not fulfill our deep moral obligation to strengthen the support for these fine Americans. In the past, unfortunately, it seemed that some who were so ready to send our young soldiers into battle half a world away were less eager to extend the help that those soldiers earned and their families deserved.
In Congress, I'm proud that we've begun to fix that. We can never fully repay our soldiers and their families for their dedication and sacrifice, but we've taken some substantial steps in the right direction.
Supporting our Returning Soldiers
Returning soldiers and their families are benefiting from increased economic and employment assistance, including incentives for employers to hire unemployed veterans.
Additional relief has been extended to more than 2 million disabled veterans; We've provided much-needed improvements in support for the Veterans Administration, allowing the VA to hire more doctors and nurses, and establish new clinics and health service centers for veterans across the country.
We now provide post-traumatic stress and mental health screening to every returning soldier. And we've vastly expanded VA health care services for our 1.8 million women veterans.
The new GI Bill now provides access to a four-year college education for our soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, and strengthened education benefits for Reservists.
We should be doing everything we can to support our veterans, our active duty soldiers and all our military families. I'm proud to say that we've already made an important fresh start, and that I remain committed to improving the services for those who have served us so selflessly.