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During his second inaugural address, President Lincoln instructed the country “to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow, and his orphan.”  I agree with President Lincoln and believe we must fulfill the promises made to those who volunteered to go to war for our country.

During these financially difficult times, the challenges facing our veterans are facing increasing challenges. Veterans are encountering increasing unemployment, homelessness, and the physical and mental challenges of Traumatic Brain Damage and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  The number of veterans seeking benefits will only increase as we draw down our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.   In my previous role as the Chairman of the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations subcommittee, I am working to ensure that our veterans receive the resources necessary to combat these issues.

Earlier this year, I cosponsored H.R. 1994, the VA Accountability Act of 2015. This important bill would authorize the Department of Veterans Affairs to remove or demote VA employees based on performance or misconduct. I am committed to ensuring that our veterans receive the medical attention they deserve, and this bill takes another step to improve their care. The negligence at the VA has to stop. If employees aren't living up to their responsibilities, appropriate action should be taken so that our veterans don't have to fight to get access to the care and benefits that they have earned.

This year, I introduced the Physician Ambassadors Helping Veterans Act. This bill allows doctors to volunteer at VA hospitals to reduce wait times and fill in when there are staffing shortages. This simple idea could potentially help hundreds of veterans get quick access to the high quality and reliable care they deserve. Also, I created a pilot program to get this good idea started in last year’s annual VA funding bill.

To see the FY2016 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Bill, click here.

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