America's service men and women should be able to count on the full and unwavering support of their government. Our nation's veterans have shown unwavering courage and bravery on the battlefield and should not have to fight to get the benefits they deserve here at home. I believe we have a duty to protect and provide for every American who serves, and I pledge to always honor their service, sacrifices and their dedication to their nation.
As our men and women continue to return home, it is crucial that we ensure they have access to the help they need to transition to civilian life. This means treating them fairly when it comes to health care, housing, and supporting their families.
This is why I am proud to be a cosponsor of the Hiring Our Veterans Act and a supporter of President Barack Obama's efforts to relieve unemployment. These efforts include the creation of the Veterans Job Corps and the signing of two new tax credits into law. Florida also needs to do its part to make hiring veterans a greater priority, and that's why I co-hosted a Jobs Fair for veterans in December with my good friend and colleague, Rep. Ted Deutch.
My colleagues and I passed the new GI Bill for the 21st Century, which restores the promise of a full, four-year college education for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans. These benefits, which started in 2009, are available to an estimated 2.1 million veterans. We have also extended those college benefits to all children of fallen soldiers since 9/11 (with no minimum military service needed to qualify). To date, we have made progress in the key areas for veterans: jobs and the economy, health care, family support, housing and education. I'll continue to work with my colleagues to push for continued progress as more troops return home and look to return to civilian life.