A Promise Made, A Promise Kept to America's Heroes
I have always been a firm believer that the veterans who have contributed so much to this country should be honored with access to the best possible health care and educational opportunities. That's why I have been a constant advocate for our veterans in Congress, ensuring that the federal government fully honors all of its commitments to those who have served America so greatly.
In 2004, I was very pleased to dedicate a new veteran's outpatient clinic in Paterson after a years-long fight for its construction. The first of its type in Passaic County, the clinic now offers primary care and health education to over 30,000 patients and has eliminated the competition and long waiting periods that veterans had faced when seeking the care they need.
I also host an annual Veteran's Fair, giving the veterans of the 8th District the opportunity to receive health screenings and register for the benefits they are entitled to. In order to learn about veteran's most vital needs, I consult every year with an advisory board of local veterans.
I have continued to work hard for veteran's rights in Congress as well. For example, the 21st Century GI Bill became law in 2008. This legislation fully covers the cost of an education at any public school and many private schools for men and women who have served in the Armed Forces since 9/11, giving our recent veterans access to a first-rate education. More recently, I proudly voted to improve housing for troops and their families and to expand childcare for military families as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Throughout my time in Congress, I have opposed budget cuts and fought to increase funding for our active service members and veterans.
In my role as co-chair of the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force, I work to raise awareness of traumatic brain injuries (TBI). TBI is considered the signature wound of the Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and I have worked to ensure that service members afflicted with these injuries receive the care and support they deserve. It is critical as well that these injuries be taken into account by the Department of Defense when discharging service members.
As a proud veteran myself I will continue to advance legislation improving the lives of America's heroes, fighting tirelessly for annual military pay raises and mandatory funding for veterans health care. Veterans and active members of our military deserve no less for the sacrifices which they have made for all of us.