I was honored to speak at Riverside National Cemetery on Memorial Day last week when all of America paused to honor and remember our fallen heroes. Over one million Americans have made the ultimate sacrifice to protect our unique American way of life. However, it is important that we not only honor our heroes and veterans on Memorial Day but throughout the year.
Congress should lead the way when it comes to honoring and caring for our active duty military, veterans and families of the fallen year round. Recently the House passed, with my support, the fiscal year 2013 National Defense Authorization Act which, in part:
Preserves Sacred Agreements with All-Volunteer Military
Prevents Obama Administration from increasing TRICARE fees or establishing new fees.
Establishes for the first time in law pharmacy co-payment amounts and caps any future increases in pharmacy co-payments to the percent cost of living increase in retirement pay.
Supports the War in Afghanistan and Efforts to Combat the Threat of International Terrorism
Requires the President to notify Congress of any planned force reductions in Afghanistan, and justify those reductions based on conditions on the ground.
Prohibits use of private security contractors for force protection of US troops in Afghanistan.
Reinforces two important principles - that our military has the authority to detain terrorists and that every American must have his day in court. Reaffirms the fundamental right to Habeas Corpus of any person detained in the United States pursuant to the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force.
Extends the prohibition on the transfer of detainees from Guantanamo Bay to the United States.
I voted for and the House recently passed two bills to support our nation's veterans:
H.R. 3670 - requires the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to comply with the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), a law designed to help deployed National Guard and Reserve members return to their civilian jobs after completing a deployment or activation in military service.
H.R. 4201 - The Servicemember Family Protection Act amends the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA), and would ensure a servicemember's deployment, or possible deployment, cannot be used as a factor in child custody determinations. SCRA is intended to relieve servicemembers of certain civil and financial obligations if military service prevents their obligation from being discharged.
Every year on Memorial Day we reaffirm a solemn promise that we will always remember the sacrifice of our national heroes. We will remember what they gave up, the most precious of all things -- life -- so that we may be here today, safe and secure. Let us keep the gratitude we experience on Memorial Day with us all year and give thanks to the brave men and women who answered our country's call when needed.
To learn more about what Congress is doing to support our military, past and present, visit www.veterans.house.gov or www.armedservices.house.gov.
Member of Congress