FULFILLING A SACRED TRUST WITH OUR VETERANS AND BUILDING A 21ST CENTURY VA
As a nation, we have no greater duty than to fully provide for those men and women who have served and sacrificed for this country when they return from service. I believe that means we must help our veterans to seamlessly transition back into civilian life, including by providing easy and timely access to educational opportunities, job training, and medical care. I will never shortchange our servicemen and women and will always stand up for our veterans.
Post 9/11 G.I. Bill
For more than 70 years the G.I. Bill has been available to help returning veterans achieve easier access to educational opportunities. Since its inception in 2008, the Post-9/11 G.I. BIll has provided educational benefits to more than 1.5 million brave men and women who sacrificed for our country. Unfortunately, this year Republicans in Congress attacked the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill by voting to cut the benefits it provides for our veterans. That is unacceptable. We need to make it easier for veterans to access educational benefits, not harder, which is why I pledge to defend the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill and will work to ensure that sufficient funds remain available to provide educational benefits for soldiers going forward into the future.
Addressing Mental and Physical Health Care
We must ensure that veterans returning from combat zones have immediate access to the physical, mental, and emotional care they need. I have heard far too many stories from veterans in our community about waiting seven, eight, or nine months for an appointment, which is completely unacceptable. I will work to ensure that veterans have access to increased shuttle service down below to Westwood/Sepulveda, and I support legislation providing a single point of contact for each veteran to help navigate through the VA system. Right now, veterans only have five years to make a claim of disability otherwise they lose high priority status – that’s wrong. I support removing that unnecessary barrier to treatment and expanding access to mental and physical health services.
Combat Homelessness among Our Nation’s Veterans:
I am adamant about ending veteran homelessness because we must ensure that those who have defended our homeland have a safe home in our community. More than 48,000 veterans are homeless on any given night, which is absolutely unacceptable. I therefore support the VA in its efforts to eradicate veteran homelessness in Los Angeles County by opening new housing facilities in West LA, as well as offering financial funds to those who choose to live in other parts of LA. In Congress, I will work to procure funds to provide increased housing opportunities for veterans throughout the 25th District.
Full Employment and Job Training for Veterans
Our servicemen and women have tremendous skills, and we must provide any assistance necessary to help transfer those skills into a successful career after discharge. Many labor unions currently operate successful “helmet to hardhat” programs designed to help veterans transition into civilian life, and I will work with those labor unions to provide any assistance I can. Moreover, I formally endorse the Manufacturing Jobs for Veterans Act: (H.R. 344.) and the Putting Our Veterans Back to Work Act of 2015 (H.R. 366) and will co-sponsor those bills when in Congress. These bills aim to accelerate vital skills training for U.S. veterans in manufacturing careers. I also fully support the Veterans Retraining Assistance Program (VRAP), which trains unemployed veterans for careers in high-demand occupations, and will work to expand the benefits available so that the program applies to more veterans.
Honor our Heroes & Keep Families Together:
Veterans should not be discharged and then discarded. I will therefore work to end the practice of deporting veterans without good cause after completing their service to our nation. A recent report highlighted 84 veterans who were unjustly deported from the United States, permanently, often leaving behind families. I therefore support the Restoring Respect for Immigrant Service in Uniform Act (H.R. 5012) and I will always fight for veterans and their families while in Congress.