Montana's veterans and military retirees have played an important role in making our nation great. Through their sacrifices, America has triumphed, remained a free and vibrant nation, and helped others obtain their own freedom. I firmly believe we cannot thank our veterans and retirees enough for putting their lives on the line when America's security demanded it. The promises our government made to those who have pledged to serve honorably and faithfully in the military should be kept.
I support legislation that would end the deduction of VA survivor benefits from Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) annuities. This policy adversely harms the families of military personnel killed on active duty and retired personnel who die as a result of a service-connected injury. If a soldier is killed while serving their country, the surviving spouse should not lose compensation and benefits due to a flawed government policy.
I support legislation that would make it easier for veterans complete their educations using the GI Bill. I sponsored legislation that will provide veterans who attend college online with the same quality benefits that veterans who attend brick and mortar institutions receive. I also support changes to the GI Bill that allow veterans to transfer their education benefits to a spouse or child so that the whole family may benefit from the veteran's service. It is critical that we provide our veterans with the training and education to enter a 21st Century workforce, and that goal can only be accomplished by creating an equitable and flexible system.
Ensuring quality health care for our veterans must be one of our highest priorities. As I review each piece of legislation that comes before me, I do it from the perspective of expanding veterans' rights and medical services, with an emphasis on increasing access to medical services in our rural areas.