Serv­ing Those Who Have Served This Vet­er­ans Day

The Washington Times Daily - - Life -

Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Phil Roe, M.D (R-TN)

To­day, Novem­ber 11, our na­tion ob­serves Vet­er­ans Day. This solemn oc­ca­sion of­fers an op­por­tu­nity to honor Amer­ica’s vet­er­ans—and their fam­i­lies—for their pa­tri­o­tism, love of coun­try, and will­ing­ness to serve and sac­ri­fice for the com­mon good.

It is my priv­i­lege to en­sure the vet­er­ans re­ceive the care and ben­e­fits they earned and de­serve. As a vet­eran of the U.S. Army Med­i­cal Corps, I salute the de­vo­tion, ser­vice and legacy our vet­er­ans have in­stilled on our cul­ture, even as many vet­er­ans re­gard their own mil­i­tary ser­vice with mod­esty and hu­mil­ity.

Vet­er­ans Day serves as a pow­er­ful re­minder of how our na­tion’s lib­erty and jus­tice has been pre­served by the ded­i­ca­tion of our armed forces. But this spe­cial day also un­der­scores our need to recom­mit to Amer­ica’s vet­er­ans and their fam­i­lies.

As a mem­ber of the Vet­er­ans’ Af­fairs Com­mit­tee, I am com­mit­ted to the well be­ing of our na­tion’s he­roes. That is why we must work to re­solve the claims back­log at the Depart­ment of Vet­er­ans Af­fairs as soon as pos­si­ble. I was proud to sup­port H.R. 2189, which would es­tab­lish a com­mis­sion to eval­u­ate the dis­abil­ity claims back­log, when it passed the House on Oc­to­ber 28. As of Oc­to­ber 21, the VA’s back­log of claims that are 125 days old or older was down to 411,704, but we can do bet­ter and we must take steps to en­sure this kind of back­log never hap­pens again.

It is crit­i­cally im­por­tant that Congress put par­ti­san­ship aside to en­sure our vet­er­ans have the re­sources they need. That is why I sup­ported the bi­par­ti­san Putting Vet­er­ans Fund­ing First Act that was brought be­fore the House Vet­er­ans’ Af­fairs Com­mit­tee. This bill would re­quire Congress to fully fund the Depart­ment of Vet­er­ans Af­fairs’ dis­cre­tionary bud­get a year ahead of sched­ule, en­sur­ing that all VA ser­vices have timely, pre­dictable fund­ing, de­spite any grid­lock in Wash­ing­ton. This bill awaits full con­sid­er­a­tion by the House. The men and women who serve our na­tion de­serve the best care, equip­ment, train­ing and sup­port we can give them and this bill is a step in the right di­rec­tion to en­sure they re­ceive those re­sources.

The Putting Vet­er­ans Fund­ing First Act is one just ex­am­ple of the Vet­er­ans’ Af­fairs Com­mit­tee step­ping up to meet our prom­ises to vet­er­ans and to pro­vide for our men and women in uni­form. I count it as one of my chief du­ties in Congress to en­sure that our armed forces are fully sup­plied with the equip­ment, tech­nol­ogy, and sup­port nec­es­sary to suc­cess­fully ac­com­plish their mis­sion of de­fend­ing and pro­tect­ing the United States. Both of th­ese bills await ac­tion

As Pres­i­dent John Adams said, “Our lib­erty must be pre­served re­gard­less of the cost.” On this Vet­er­ans Day, I hope you’ll join me in ex­press­ing our deep­est grat­i­tude to the men and women who have paid that cost in a very per­sonal way, as well as to those who con­tinue to pay it to­day. As Adams went on to say, our lib­erty has been “earned and bought… at the ex­pense of their ease, their es­tates… and their blood.”

We should be proud of our brave ser­vice­mem­bers who are sac­ri­fic­ing daily to stop our en­e­mies in their tracks. It is es­sen­tial that we sup­port the strate­gies and poli­cies put forth by our own com­man­ders on the ground.

This Vet­er­ans Day, let us re­mem­ber that we must honor and care for those who so bravely fought for our free­dom. Let us honor those who made the ul­ti­mate sac­ri­fice for our na­tion. Let us also re­mem­ber all of the men and women who are cur­rently de­ployed and who are in harm’s way. They are con­stantly in my thoughts and prayers.

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