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Public Statements

Ruth Moore Act of 2013

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. MILLER of Florida. I yield myself such time as I might consume.

Mr. Speaker, H.R. 671, as amended, will demand that the Department of Veterans Affairs place an immediate and concerted focus upon updating and improving its regulations for processing claims based upon military sexual trauma, commonly known as MST.

Reported incidences of military sexual trauma have risen markedly in recent years, a disturbing trend affecting both women and men serving in the military. I have spoken with many servicemembers who have suffered MST, and one sentiment is commonly echoed--these servicemembers feel a sense of betrayal and lack of trust. They have said that they feel betrayed by their fellow military attacker; and, without proper handling of the crime, they also feel betrayed by their command and their service branch.

The Department of Defense must take the lead on this issue and must address military sexual assault and trauma throughout the ranks in the strongest possible terms. Additionally, our veterans who have suffered military sexual trauma who live with this sense of betrayal must be confident that they will not be further traumatized by the Department of Veterans Affairs when they seek necessary and proper assistance.

Survivors of MST must not be subjected to outdated and antiquated regulations of the Department.

VA's approach to claims of MST and its processing thereof require immediate and thoughtful review, and that is the intent of H.R. 671, as amended.

I want to thank Congresswoman Pingree for bringing this important bill to the committee. And I commend Subcommittee Chairman Runyan and Ranking Member Titus for their bipartisan work on bringing this bill to the floor today.

With that, Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.

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Mr. MILLER of Florida. Mr. Speaker, I think the words speak for themselves as well as the comments that have been made here on the floor. I would just close with this: that I urge all of my colleagues to support the Ruth Moore Act. I support H.R. 671, as amended, and I yield back the balance of my time.

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