There are many veterans that live in our district and their issues are important to me and to my work in Congress.
I am grateful to all those who have served in our armed forces, and to the brave men and women who are currently serving our country in the global war on terror. The people of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania are proud to count one million veterans as friends, family, and neighbors. All who have served have sacrificed, and we owe our liberty and freedom to our veterans.
I am committed to serving our veterans. I am working to ensure that our veterans receive the benefits and the care that they so greatly deserve. I am pleased to work with our two local VA hospitals, the Clarion County VA Outpatient Clinic and VA Butler Healthcare, to provide quality care to veterans in the 3rd District. I am always interested in making improvements to the VA healthcare system to make the claims process efficient for our veterans, and to adjusting and improving the delivery of healthcare to fit the changing healthcare needs of veterans today.
I am also committed to serving veterans by helping them to obtain job training and education at our great colleges and universities in Pennsylvania, to empower them to advance their careers and provide for their families. We are eternally grateful to our veterans and it is my goal to see to it that they have the services they need to lead healthy and productive lives after their time in the military is complete.
In my efforts to better serve our veterans, I have worked to:
- Seek Transparency and Accountability from the Butler VA. I have sought answers from the Veterans Administration as to its decision to close and possibly tear down the historic Butler VA Building #1 after spending millions of dollars in renovations, and building a new Butler Health Care Center (HCC), without holding any public hearings or town halls. Accordingly, I hosted a town hall on the VA’s future plans for Building #1. I also wrote a letter requesting that the VA explain the rationale for its decision, including its failure to obtain public input from veterans. Additionally, I entered into a bipartisan colloquy on the House floor with Rep. Jason Altmire and Rep. Culberson, Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, Subcommittee on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs. Chairman Culberson agreed to help to investigate the Butler VA’s decision.
- Support a Congressional Committee on POW/MIA Affairs. I suppored H. Res. 111, a resolution urging the establishment of a congressional, bipartisan, Select Committee on POW and MIA Affairs to conduct a full investigation of all missing personnel from all military conflicts from World War II until the present.
- Support the GI Bill Fairness Act of 2011. I voted for H.R. 1383, the GI Bill Fairness Act of 2011, which passed the House and the Senate, and was signed into law by the President. The bill allows student veterans who were accepted by a school on or prior to January 4, 2011, but were not necessarily attending the school at that time to be “grandfathered” in under the bill. The legislation will help student veterans in Pennsylvania and around the country.
- Support expanding opportunities for veterans to find work. I voted for the VOW to Hire Heroes Act of 2011, which was passed into law as Title II of H.R. 674. The VOW to Hire Heroes Act of 2011 is a comprehensive jobs package to help veterans make a smooth transition to civilian employment through expanded opportunities for education and training and other needed measures.
- Support the Veterans' Benefits Act of 2011. I voted for H.R. 2349, the Veterans’ Benefits Act of 2011. The bill would enhance the speed and accuracy of the processing of veterans benefits claims by providing improved training for VA employees and demanding accountability from VA employees with poor job performance.
I also voted for:
- the Veterans’ Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) Act of 2011 (S. 894), which would direct the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to increase, as of December 1, 2011, the rates of veterans' disability compensation, additional compensation for dependents, the clothing allowance for certain disabled veterans, and dependency and indemnity compensation for surviving spouses and children; and
- the Veterans Health Care Facilities Capital Improvement Act of 2011, which will allow the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to carry out certain FY2012 major medical facility construction projects (projects) at Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical centers.
We have passed bills that let our veterans know that we don’t take them or the great sacrifices they’ve made for granted, and that we will never abandon them in their time of need, just as they have never abandoned us in ours
For more information concerning my work and views on Veterans' issues, please contact my Washington, DC office.
I look forward to your feedback.
See also information on veterans benefits.