The sacrifices made by our servicemen and women both past and present are undeniable. As a nation and as a people, we must never forget all that they have given, every day protecting the privileges, comforts and freedoms that we, as Americans, enjoy.
Since the first days of our great nation, our military personnel have proved resolute in their commitment to both freedom and democracy. This powerful legacy lives on today through the efforts of those who bravely serve with our armed forces.
This knowledge runs in my family. My husband, Dexter, fought proudly and was wounded while serving in Vietnam. My stepson, Douglas, and his wife Lindsay, have both served tours in Iraq, Lindsay having also served in Afghanistan, and they are now serving at the U.S. Naval Academy. From their experiences, and those of all veterans, I understand the degree to which we all must be thankful for these brave souls. The sacrifice of our nation's fighting men and women will never be lost on me, nor will our essential commitment to them be forgotten.
I have always worked hard to legislate on behalf of our veterans since my first session in Congress. I am delighted to continue to help ensure all veterans receive the benefits that they so rightfully deserve.
We can all agree that the brave men and women of our armed forces, both active duty and our veterans, deserve all that we can offer them. The fundamental goal they have endeavored for, to protect our country and its citizens, must be more than simply recognized; it must be met with equal commitment from those they have served with such remarkable distinction.
Setting a Higher Standard
I was a co-sponsor of the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act. This landmark legislation increases educational benefits available to all members of the military who have served on active duty since September 11, 2001. It gives them an opportunity to receive an in-state, undergraduate education at a public institution at no cost. This includes payments for all fees, housing, books and supplies as well as a stipend. This also offered an increase of the money available to the veteran, increase the time in which they are eligible to use the assistance, and allow for voluntary matching dollar amounts from universities or even the transfer of benefits to a family member.
Providing for Those Serving Beyond the Call of Duty
I voted for legislation to give retroactive payments for stop loss. Soldiers who were individually stop-lossed and on active duty between Sept. 11, 2001, and Sept. 30, 2008, now can claim a retroactive special pay for each month they served past their end-of-service date. This includes Reserve and National Guard Soldiers on active duty during this period.
Raise Military Pay
It is our obligation to compensate our active duty military service members for their honorable and loyal service. Included in this is the responsibility to ensure that their purchasing power does not diminish as time goes on. As a result, I cosponsored the Military Pay Raise Act which increases monthly basic pay for members of the uniformed services by 3.4 percent.
Surviving Spouses' Benefit Improvement Act
The sacrifice of veterans not only benefits our nation at that moment in time, but leaves a lasting effect for future generations. Their service and dedication deserves that their compensation carry on to their spouses and dependents. The Surviving Spouses' Benefit Improvement Act allows spouses and dependents to collect Dependency and Indemnity Compensation in the event of a seriously wounded or disabled veteran.
Help Student Soldiers Act
It is extremely important that all Americans are afforded the opportunity to pursue a quality education. As a former educator, I place a significant emphasis on continued education for our veterans. To compensate reservists that are called back to active duty during a semester, I cosponsored this bill that forgives federally-backed student loans if they are unable receive academic credit.
A Bill To Increase Benefits To Injured Veterans
The sacrifice that veterans make to protect our country is selfless and inspiring. It is our duty to make sure that injured veterans receive all the benefits that they rightfully deserve. Therefore, I have cosponsored this bill that expands disability severance pay to cover all veterans who have a combat related disability.
Chiropractic Care Available To All Veterans Act
Comprehensive health care for our veterans, both in the field and at home, is of the utmost importance. It is for that reason that I cosponsored the Chiropractic Care Available To All Veterans Act. It requires the Veterans Affairs to provide chiropractic care for veterans at all VA medical facilities.
A Bill To Help Homeless Veterans
It is a great shame that so many veterans who served this country proudly end up on the streets. It is the responsibility of the American people to ensure that all our veterans are taken care of. Ensuring that accommodations are made for homeless veterans is a significant priority for me and therefore, I have cosponsored the Help Homeless Veterans Act that allows taxpayers the option to designate a portion of their income tax payment to provide assistance to homeless veterans.
Home Front to Heroes Postal Benefits Act
This bill directs the Secretary of Defense to provide for a program under which postal benefit vouchers are provided for members of the Armed Forces who are serving in overseas operations or who are hospitalized.
Retired Pay Restoration & Disables Veterans Tax Termination
Currently, a disabled career military veteran is required to give up part of his or her retired pay equal to the amount of his or her VA disability compensation. Military retirees are the only group of federal retirees who must waive retirement pay in order to receive VA disability compensation. To right this injustice, I co-sponsored the Retired Pay Restoration Act and the Disabled Veterans Tax Termination Act. This permits retired members of the Armed Forces who have a service-connected disability to receive both disability compensation from the VA and their retired pay or Combat-Related Special Compensation.
Tricare Continuity to National Guard and Reserve
I co-sponsored the TRICARE Continuity of Coverage for National Guard and Reserve Families Act. This allows for retired members with 20 years or more of service to purchase healthcare that was available to them during their time of active service or after they turn 60.
Retirees Healthcare Protection Act
As a co-sponsor of this bill, I am working to ensure that we protect military retirees from bearing the burden of cost-cutting efforts by the current administration. The Department of Defense and our nation have a obligation to retired military personnel that exceeds the obligation of corporate employers to civilian employees. The DOD has many additional options to constrain the growth of health care spending in ways that do not disadvantage beneficiaries, and should pursue such options rather than seeking large fee increases for beneficiaries. This bill will prohibit an increase in a premium, deductible, copayment, or other charge for medical and dental health care coverage for military personnel.