The men and women who have served us in the U.S. Armed Forces deserve our lifelong appreciation and respect. More than that, they deserve a federal government that honors its commitment to them.
We must do a better job of serving our veterans when they return home from active duty; helping them transition back to civilian life by ensuring a strong, robust economy that provides adequate job opportunities for returning veterans and reducing the bureaucratic red tape that holds up veterans' access to the education and health care benefits they have earned.
In Congress, I continue be a leading advocate for our servicemen and women, as well as their families; making certain they have the resources they need both while on active duty and when they return home. This includes access to the health care, disability compensation, GI bill education and job training, home loan guarantees and life insurance policies that they have earned in service to our country.
During my time in Washington I have had to make difficult decisions to reduce government spending and create a fiscally sustainable path, but I am proud to have been able to protect many of the programs that our veterans depend on during this process. We have been able to provide greater assistance for veterans' medical care and have ensured Department of Housing and Urban Development-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing vouchers for the remainder of the fiscal year.
With great pride I have cosponsored and voted for several bills strengthening veteran access to well-deserved benefits including health care and disability claims:
H. Res. 231 - Establishing a Select Committee on POW and MIA Affairs. More than 83,000 United States personnel from all wars are still unaccounted for, including MIA’s and POW’s missing and captured. H. Res. 231 would provide for a full investigation into all unresolved matters relating to United States personnel unaccounted for from all wars and make recommendations for immediate actions.
H.R. 241 - Veterans Timely Access to Health Care Act. Our brave men and women who have sacrificed much to serve our country deserve the best and timeliest medical treatment. H.R. 241 would ensure veteran access to hospital and medical care within 30 days from the date of original contact with the Department of Veterans Affairs. This Act would further direct the VA Secretary to conduct a review of VA medical facilities to ensure this deadline is met, requiring quarterly reports to congressional veterans’ committees regarding waiting times.
H.R. 2189 - To improve the processing of disability claims by the Department of Veterans Affairs. This bill would establish a commission or task force to evaluate the backlog of disability claims of the Department of Veterans Affairs.
H.R. 235 - Veteran Emergency Medical Technician Support Act of 2013. This bill would amend the Public Health Service Act to direct the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to establish a demonstration program for states with a shortage of emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and to streamline state requirements and procedures to assist veterans who completed military EMT training while serving in the Armed Forces to meet state EMT certification, licensure and other requirements.
H.R. 3547 – Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2014. This bill amends the Ryan-Murray Agreement to exempt medically retired personnel and survivor benefit plan recipients from having their cost-of-living benefits temporarily reduced. This will ensure disabled veterans and surviving families receive the full benefits they are due.
The House has also passed H.R. 1383 which corrected the Post-9/11 GI Bill and allows student veterans to stay in the school of their choice as well as H.R. 1657, which imposes penalties for small businesses that falsely claim veteran-owned status. Additionally, we reissued the annual Cost-of-Living Adjustment for veterans and survivors through the passage of H.R. 1407. These are all important pieces of legislation that recognize the debt of gratitude we owe to our veterans.
We've also taken action to protect the dignity of those who have been awarded medals in service to our country. In 2012, I helped to pass the Stolen Valor Act, which makes it a crime for a person to benefit from lying about being awarded military medals, including the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest award for valor in combat. No one should ever profit from falsely claiming an honor bestowed to only the most brave and courageous men and women who have truly earned such medals.
I will continue to work to fulfill President Lincoln's promise “To care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan.”
More on Veterans
Washington, DC — U.S. Representative Randy Hultgren (IL-14) released a statement following the State of the Union Address:
Washington, DC —Today, U.S. Representatives Randy Hultgren (R-IL-14) and Brad Schneider (D-IL-10) announced they plan to sit together as a symbol of bipartisanship at tonight’s State of the Union Address, eschewing the traditional party-line seating arrangements.
Washington, DC — U.S. Representative Randy Hultgren (IL-14) announced he has hired a new Chief of Staff, Dean Peterson, to lead his office following the departure of his former chief, Katherine McGuire, to be Assistant Secretary for Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs at the Department of Labor.
Washington, DC — U.S. Representative Randy Hultgren (IL-14) announced that U.S. Naval Academy Midshipman Alex Vandenberg of Sugar Grove will be his guest at the State of the Union address on Tuesday. Alex was nominated to the Naval Academy by Rep. Hultgren, and in an unprecedented achievement simultaneously earned all three Orders of Merit (Academic, Military, Overall) and ascended to the top of his United States Naval Academy class the first semester of his first year.
To the editor: