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Public Statements

Issue Position: Military and Veterans

Issue Position

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Keeping America Safe, Honoring Those Who Serve

Congresswoman Hirono understands and appreciates the importance of our military to Hawai"i and our nation. She is proud of our veterans and the brave men and women currently in uniform, and she will continue to make sure we honor and care for all those who serve so we can be safe and free.

She is working in Congress to support our service members, veterans, and their families, to enhance America's military readiness, and to improve health care and benefits for veterans.

Enhance military readiness:

Combating the threat of global terrorism and protecting our national security interests require a strong military. Congress is making sure our troops are prepared.

* Provide equipment and force protection:

Congresswoman Hirono has voted to provide funding for combat equipment, operational training, better protected armor vehicles, and personal body armor so our troops have what they need to be safe and successful.

* Increase troop strength:

To reduce the pressure to extend troop deployments, the House passed legislation supporting the Defense Department's plans to increase the size of the Army by 15,000 soldiers, the Air Force by 14,650 personnel, the Marine Corps by 8,000 Marines, and the Navy by 2,477 sailors. (H.R. 2647, the FY2010 defense authorization bill on June 24, 2009)

Improve health care and benefits:

Congress will vote on legislation that provides funding for veterans medical care, claims processors, and military facility improvements. The $14.5 billion budget increase for FY2010 supplants the historic increase of $17.7 billion provided over the last two years.

* Advanced funding for the VA:

Congresswoman Hirono is a cosponsor of legislation authorizing Congress to approve VA medical care appropriations a year in advance of the start of each fiscal year in order to provide the VA with enough time to plan how to deliver the most efficient and effective care to a growing number of veterans with increasingly complex medical conditions. This bill passed the House on June 23, 2009.

* Improved Care for Women Veterans:

Congresswoman Hirono voted in support of legislation to expand and improve VA health care services for 1.8 million women who have served our country.

* Provide and extend college education benefits:

* Reject a proposal that would negatively impact veterans:
In a letter sent to the President on March 17, 2009, Congresswoman Hirono and 65 of her colleagues in the House expressed opposition to a proposal to bill veterans' private health insurance plans for care and treatment of service-connected injuries or disabilities. After careful deliberation, the administration abandoned this proposal.

Support our troops and their families:

Congress has made it a priority to assist our service members and their families.

* Care for our military and their families:

Congress passed legislation (H.R. 2346, the FY2009 supplemental) to provide $1.8 billion in funding for defense health and military family support, including funding for family advocacy programs, traumatic brain injury and psychological health research, and rehabilitation equipment to ensure that wounded soldiers receive the best care available to them.
* Provide a pay increase that exceeds the President's request:

Congresswoman Hirono voted for legislation authorizing a 3.4 percent pay raise for all service members in FY2010 and the extension of special pay and bonuses for active duty and reserve personnel. (H.R. 2647, the FY2010 NDAA) Congresswoman Hirono voted for legislation authorizing a 3.4 percent pay raise for all service members in FY2010 and the extension of special pay and bonuses for active duty and reserve personnel. (H.R. 2647, the FY2010 NDAA)

* Stop Loss:

Congress passed legislation that retroactively provides over 185,000 service members who had their enlistments involuntarily extended (since September 11, 2001) with $500 per month for every month they were held under stop-loss orders. (H.R. 2346, the FY2009 supplemental)

Honor pioneering veterans:

Congresswoman Hirono supports legislation that celebrates veterans whose service has paved the way for future generations.

* Commemorate the 100th Infantry Battalion and the 442nd Regimental Combat Team: Congresswoman Hirono is a cosponsor of legislation (H.R. 347) that would award a Congressional Gold Medal to the 100th and the 442nd in honor of their dedicated service during World War II. This bill passed the House unanimously on May 14, 2009.

Along with her colleagues in the House, she also sent a letter to the U.S. Postal Service asking that they reconsider a proposal to issue a commemorative postage stamp honoring Japanese American World War II veterans.

* Commemorate the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP):

Congresswoman Hirono is a cosponsor of a bill (H.R. 2014) that would award a Congressional Gold Medal to the WASP to recognize their service during World War II. The Senate version of the bill (S. 614) passed by unanimous consent and recently passed the House.


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