HONORING THE PROUD AND THE BRAVE
November 11, 2005
Veterans Day is an opportunity for us to honor the great lives and sacrifices of our nation's veterans. America's veterans have engaged in one of the noblest forms of public service: defending our nation. These brave, patriotic men and women have helped to liberate victims of oppression, spread democracy across the world and preserve the freedoms our nation was built upon. For these selfless actions, we in turn have a responsibility to ensure that our troops are sufficiently provided for when they return home.
In the 109th Congress, we have worked to improve veteran services and benefits and while there is still much work to be done, we are making significant progress. Earlier this year, the House passed the Military Personnel Financial Services Protection Act to protect military service members from the sale of questionable financial products, curb abusive sales practices on military bases, and ensure regulatory oversight of financial services sales on military bases.
Additionally, the House passed the Veterans' Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act of 2005. This legislation provides a cost-of-living adjustment to the rates of disability compensation for veterans with service-connected disabilities and to the rates of compensation for surviving family members of certain service-connected disabled veterans effective December 1, 2005. This legislation will hopefully alleviate some financial strain on our disabled veterans and their families.
Earlier this year the House passed legislation which included $21 billion, a $1.64 billion increase from fiscal year 2005, designated for veterans' medical care. The Military Quality of Life and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act includes $273 million to fund health care for returning Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom veterans, including members of the Guard and Reserve, $226 million to continue funding the shared federal and state VA long-term care nursing home program, and $39 million to pay for the increase in health care benefits for dependants of 100-percent service-connected veterans as the need has increased at a rate greater than expected. Our veterans deserve quality, dependable medical care and this legislation will help to ensure that we continue to meet the needs of our servicemen and women.
American veterans put the needs of their country before their very own and served for the good of fellow countrymen and women. We have made significant strides to better meet the needs of our veterans, but our work is not finished. On this Veterans Day, let us reflect and take a moment to thank the members of our armed services past and present. We are grateful for the sacrifices made by our fellow Americans who have nobly defended our nation on foreign soil and allowed us to enjoy the freedoms and liberties of our great country.