Senators Isakson and Perdue Thank America’s Veterans
Friday, November 11th, 2016
U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, released the following statement honoring Veterans Day on November 11, 2016:
“As we honor our veterans, those of us who serve in Washington must renew and strengthen our commitment to the men and women who have sacrificed for our country. I am proud that the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs that I chair is one of the most bipartisan committees in the Senate. There are not Republican veterans or Democrat veterans; there are only American veterans.
“We have made tremendous progress since I took over as chairman in 2015. On the heels of the Phoenix wait-time scandal at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, we expanded access to care for veterans with the implementation of the Veterans’ Access, Choice and Accountability Act of 2014. With the passage of the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act we are working to address the crisis of veterans suicides, among taking many other positive bipartisan steps.
“Yet, there is more work to be done. I want to reiterate my commitment to working together for veterans to change the culture at the VA through the passage of the bipartisan reforms included in the Veterans First Act.
“Our veterans have never failed us. We must not fail them.”
After numerous scandals at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Isakson introduced the Veterans First Act to make it easier for leadership at the VA to remove errant employees at all levels. It holds accountable all VA leaders, including political appointees, for managing the Department. The bill also prohibits bonuses for employees who have been found guilty of wrongdoing and includes numerous protections for whistleblowers.
In addition, Isakson has helped usher the following bills through the Senate this year on behalf of veterans.
· Department of Veterans Affairs Expiring Authorities Act of 2016 (H.R.5985), which authorizes certain VA’s services for the next fiscal year and ensures that the VA’s homeless programs and adaptive sports programs, among other critical services for veterans, do not shut down. It also includes a provision that would allow the VA to protect veterans using VA education benefits if the Secretary of Education withdraws recognition of the agency that accredited a veteran’s school. The Department of Veterans Affairs Expiring Authorities Act of 2016 passed the U.S. House of Representatives on Sept. 13, 2016, and was signed into law by the president on Sept. 29, 2016.
· Veterans Care Agreement and West Los Angeles Leasing Act of 2016 (H.R.5936), which allows the VA to use the west Los Angeles VA campus for housing for homeless veterans. The Veterans Care Agreement and West Los Angeles Leasing Act of 2016 was passed by the House on Sept. 12, 2016, and was signed into law by the president on Sept. 29, 2016.
Charles Duncan Buried with Honor Act of 2016 (S.3076), which authorizes the VA to provide burial benefits for veterans to be buried in state cemeteries. The Charles Duncan Buried with Honor Act of 2016 was passed by the Senate on Sept. 20, 2016, and must be passed by the House before being sent to the president’s desk.
H.R.5937, a bill to authorize the American Battle Monuments Commission to acquire, operate and maintain the Lafayette Escadrille Memorial in Marnes-la-Coquette, France. This bill was passed by the House on Sept. 12, 2016, and was signed into law by the president on Sept. 29, 2016.
In 2016, the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs conducted oversight hearings in the following areas:
· Toxic exposure on veterans
· VA mental health care
· Non-VA care programs
· Veterans’ transition to civilian life
· MyVA transformation strategy
· VA’s IT systems
· VA’s Diffusion of Excellence Program
· Commission on Care report
Isakson also introduced two new pieces of legislation this year: the Veteran Housing Stability and Homeless Prevention Act of 2016, a bill to improve benefits for homeless veterans, and the Veterans Healthcare and Benefits Improvement Act of 2016, which would increase health care access and benefits for veterans.
Senator David Perdue Thanks America’s Veterans
U.S. Senator David Perdue (R-GA) released the following video statement in observance of Veterans Day, Friday, November 11, 2016:
Click here to watch the video.
“We stop today to honor and reflect on the sacrifices and contributions all of our veterans have made for our great country. I wouldn’t be standing here today without the dedicated service and commitment, and sacrifices really, of everybody that has worn the uniform.
You know, I get to travel the world as a member of the Foreign Relations Committee and I can tell you that the best, and I mean the very best, of America is in uniform today protecting our rights as Americans.
I want everybody to know how much it means to me and the people of Georgia that today we stop for a second and remember our heroes and our veterans—the men and women in uniform. Thank you.”