Ahead of Veterans Day, Senator Jay Rockefeller, the longest serving member of the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs, today released the following statement on the full Senate's action to provide disabled veterans and their families with an increase in veterans' compensation payments through a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA).
"On Veterans Day, we pay particularly close attention to these men and women each year and their incredible sacrifices for our country. After giving so much for all of us, disabled veterans and their families should never have to worry about how they'll afford medical expenses and other monthly bills," Rockefeller said. "The COLA increase in this bill shows our disabled veterans that we care about their well-being and their families. It's a meaningful way to honor their service and sacrifice, and to make sure they're cared for."
The bipartisan COLA bill, passed by the Senate late last month, calls for a cost-of-living increase to veterans' compensation payments beginning on December 1, 2013. The COLA was last increased on December 1, 2012, because of legislation Rockefeller sponsored and led to final passage by the Senate.
Rockefeller is a leading champion for veterans. The senator has long fought to protect veterans' benefits, strengthen consumer protections for veterans, and improve veterans' access to quality health care as well as education and job training programs.
Last weekend in Parkersburg, Rockefeller led a panel discussion at Parkersburg High School as part of Take a Veteran to School Day that featured several extraordinary West Virginia veterans including: Fred Mayer, a Charles Town resident and World War II veteran; John Proe, a Charles Town resident and Vietnam veteran; Jessica Lynch, a former POW who served in Iraq and is an educator in Wirt County; and Admiral Thomas Lopez, a West Virginia native from Fayette County who is a retired four star admiral and served as Commander in Chief, United States Naval Forces, Europe and Commander in Chief Allied Forces, Southern Europe.
"Having kids learn from veterans makes them more aware of their place in the world. There's nothing like hearing the lessons they have to teach," Rockefeller said during the panel discussion.