Today is a special day, a day where all Americans take a moment to honor the men and women who bravely served our nation.
This Veterans Day I want to say thank you to the service members who have kept our country safe for generations. Because of their actions, America will continue to be the greatest country in the world.
Thanking a veteran for their service and honoring our veterans every day is important, but more importantly we must ensure our veterans have what they need to succeed in civilian life. That means making sure that when these brave men and women come home they are prepared to succeed.
I am proud to say that as Montana’s only member of the Veterans Affairs Committee, I’ve made it my top priority to honor Montana’s veterans.
This year I led the charge to reauthorize critical initiatives that help veterans across Montana.
I worked with Republicans and Democrats to pass my bipartisan bill to improve VA facilities, hire more medical professionals, speed up disability claims processing, and invest in telehealth services so veterans in rural Montana can still access medical professionals. Together we made record investments in how we treat veterans suffering from traumatic brain injuries. And we boosted support for Vietnam veterans and veterans who are aging and dealing with the wounds from decades ago.
It’s the first time in eight years that we’ve approved the VA’s budget before October 1. As one of two authors of this bill, I am proud to deliver for Montana’s veterans and I will continue working hard every day to honor their great sacrifice.
But our work didn’t stop there. Together we passed the Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program Act to provide support to state and local groups that assist homeless veterans looking for employment.
We also passed the Rural Veterans Travel Program Act which allows the VA to provide transportation to and from VA medical facilities for veterans.
Getting to VA facilities is difficult for many Montana veterans, and getting through the door and in front of a doctor in a timely fashion has also been a struggle. But veterans like the care they receive once they get through the door.
That’s why I crafted the bipartisan Veterans First Act. This legislation will hold the VA accountable, put more doctors in VA hospitals, and help address the problems with the Choice Program. This legislation is not law yet. My promise on this Veterans Day is that I will continue to work with Democrats and Republicans to push this legislation across the finish line.
As your Senator, I pledge to honor our veterans not just on Veterans Day, but each and every day.
God bless you, God bless our active duty members, and God bless our veterans.