The brave men and women of our military are among America’s greatest heroes. Individuals serving in the military come from all backgrounds and unite in a common goal to protect and defend the freedoms and values that make the United States like no other. These men and women have made enormous sacrifices for our country and their service should never be forgotten.
During my time in Congress, I have worked hard to support policies that honor, support and care for our veterans. This includes making sure that our veterans receive the benefits they’ve earned and enabling a seamless transition into civilian life. Whether it’s providing better housing options, improving access to health care, expanding education and job training programs, or reforming the administration of benefits, our policies should aim to achieve a better quality of life for our nation’s heroes.
The first bill I introduced in Congress, H.R. 2011, the Veterans Advisory Committee on Education Improvement Act, is a bipartisan effort focused on enhancing the job training and education opportunities for our veterans. The bill would extend a Committee which has a long history of advising the Secretary of Veterans Affairs on advancing education and job training programs for veterans. Most importantly, the bill expands the Committee to include a voice for post-9/11 vets who are returning home in record numbers and deserve access to quality job training and education programs. I was pleased that the bill passed through the House Committee on Veterans Affairs and I look forward to working towards its passage.
I have also been a vocal supporter of legislative initiatives such as H.R. 1725, the Veterans Mental Health Accessibility Act, which helps abate the high prevalence of mental health disorders in veterans, the Vulnerable Veterans Housing Reform Act, H.R. 1742, which helps ensure severely wounded veterans are not prevented from accessing housing because of the cost of the care they receive for their injuries, and the 21st Century Health Care for Heroes Act, H.R. 2590, which requires the DOD and VA to better coordinate the transfer of soldiers’ medical records. All of these proposals are a step in the right direction to ensure that our veterans receive the care and support they deserve as they return home from conflict.
During debate of the Defense Appropriations Bill, I offered an amendment to increase funding for Fisher House, which provides free lodging near hospitals for military families when servicemen and veterans are receiving care. My amendment increased funding from $4 million to $20 million and will allow four new Fisher Houses to be built across the country. These new houses are owned and operated by the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, and will allow approximately 2,000 additional military families per year to stay with their heroes in their time of need at the hospital.
Moving forward, I will continue to be a strong advocate for the brave men and women of our armed services.
More on Veterans Issues
WASHINGTON – Congressman John K. Delaney (MD-6) has signed onto the Veterans’ Bill of Rights sponsored by the Circle of Friends for American Veterans (COFAV). COFAV is a non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness about veterans’ issues and the Veterans’ Bill of Rights makes a statement of principle and highlights actions which can be taken to support American veterans. A bipartisan coalition of 89 Members from both the House and the Senate has pledged support for the Veterans’ Bill of Rights.
WASHINGTON - Congressman John K. Delaney (MD-6) will host a Veterans Constituent Services Workshop next Wednesday in Hagerstown. The event is free and open to the public.
WASHINGTON – Congressman John K. Delaney (MD-6) has cosponsored the Real Choice for Veterans Act (H.R. 1096). The legislation would expand health care access options for veterans, by revising the Veterans Choice Program. Delaney is the first House Democrat to cosponsor the Real Choice for Veterans Act, which was authored by Rep. Bradley Byrne (AL-1).
WASHINGTON – Tuesday, the Department of Veterans Affairs announced that it would expand the number of veterans eligible to participate in the new Veterans Choice Program. The program allows veterans to receive non-VA care if they have not received an appointment within 30 days or if they live more than 40 miles one-way from the nearest VA medical facility. However, the VA had used an un-realistic straight-line or “as the crow flies” standard for measuring distance, not driving distance. The VA’s announcement means that driving distance will now be used.
WASHINGTON – Today, President Obama signed into law the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans (SAV) Act, bipartisan legislation to improve mental health care at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and stem veteran suicide. The legislation is named for Iraq and Afghanistan veteran and suicide prevention advocate Clay Hunt, who took his own life in 2011.
Congressman John K. Delaney published an op-ed last week on the need to pass the Clay Hunt SAV Act, which improves mental health care and anti-suicide services from the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Improving veteran's access to mental health care
By Rep. John Delaney
Frederick News-Post, 1/30/15
WASHINGTON - The House of Representatives has passed the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans (SAV) Act, a bill to strengthen mental health care at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Named for veteran and suicide prevention advocate Marine Cpl. Clay Hunt, the legislation improves recruitment and retention efforts for mental health professionals at the VA, centralizes resources for veterans in need of care, and brings stronger oversight and accountability to the VA.
WASHINGTON - The House of Representatives today passed the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act (SAV) Act (H.R. 5059), a comprehensive bill to combat veteran suicide and improve psychiatric care. Congressman John K. Delaney (MD-6) is a cosponsor of the Clay Hunt SAV Act, which is named for Iraq and Afghanistan veteran and suicide prevention advocate Clay Hunt, who took his own life in 2011. The bill passed Tuesday by a voice vote.
National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day is December 7, the anniversary of the attack in 1941. Congressman Delaney authored an op-ed in the Frederick News-Post on the meaning and importance of the holiday.
Remembering Courage, Sacrifice and Resilience on Pearl Harbor Day
By Rep. John K. Delaney (MD-6)
WASHINGTON – The House has passed legislation to update the federal charter of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) to reflect the service of women in the armed forces. H.R. 5441 makes two wording changes, replacing “men” with “veterans” and “widows” with “surviving spouses.” The changes are supported by the VFW, whose delegates voted in support of the change at the 115th VFW National Convention, held in St. Louis earlier this year.
The House Resolution to amend the charter passed by voice vote Monday.