Memorial Day: Sacrifice Through Service
Next Monday, May 29, is the day this year we set aside to observe Memorial Day; a solemn reminder of the sacrifice and loss our nation’s armed forces have endured since the founding of this great nation. For around 150 years, Americans have gathered to recognize and honor the sacrifices of the service men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice in service to their country. Families, communities and churches across the country will come together to hold ceremonies to honor those who gave their lives in the name of freedom, and I am proud to join in honoring them and their sacrifice that keeps alive the freedoms we enjoy today.
Many of our veterans and servicemembers have fought alongside the fallen, and all have made their own sacrifice through their service. Just yesterday, President Donald Trump released his budget proposal, which included one of the largest increases in funding for veterans in a decade. It’s clear the president continues to make veterans a priority as his budget reflects his commitment to take care of our veterans throughout the course of their lives.
On Tuesday, the House of Representatives passed seven separate, bipartisan bills that aim to improve the lives of veterans. As you may know, I am especially passionate about improving veterans’ health care. As chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, and a doctor for over 30 years, I will always fight to ensure veterans have timely access to quality health care, which is why I am so proud of these bills that passed with bipartisan support.
Among the most important bills we passed was a modernization of our broken appeals system for disability claims, which currently has roughly 470,000 appeals pending. Many of our nation’s heroes have meritorious claims that are rejected for a whole host of reasons. Our legislation, H.R. 2288, the Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act, would help prioritize claims by creating three “lanes” for veteran’s appeals. These lanes would direct the appeal to the proper appeals claim reviewer, and hopefully, get the veteran a more timely response to their claim. This legislation will help deliver peace of mind to so many who deserve the assistance.
As we celebrate Memorial Day with friends and family, let us all remember to turn our thoughts and prayers to those who currently serve this country and to those who died in combat. Memorial Day is a reminder of the ultimate sacrifice that many have made for our great nation, and these brave men and women will never be forgotten.As always, feel free to contact my office if I can be of assistance to you or your family.