A prosperous nation must also ensure the security of its residents. As a member of the House Committee on Homeland Security I am committed to continuing to improvement our nation’s defenses through practical, reasonable means, and without unduly intruding on individual liberties.
The United States military is among the greatest fighting forces this world has ever seen, but it is not without its issues. Some of those who enlist to serve their country will experience abuse or sexual violence in the military and will be left without any useful mechanism to seek justice. I’m proud to have cosponsored the Servicemembers and Veterans Empowerment and Support Act of 2019 which would provide legal support for women and men who find themselves in this unthinkable position. I also recognize the disparity in veteran’s healthcare between men and women and support legislation such as the Deborah Sampson Act. This act would establish a Women’s Health office in the Department of Veteran’s Affairs, increase oversight into women’s health care, and extend coverage for newborns of veterans. Women have served our country from the very beginning, and it’s time that they receive equitable treatment when they return home.
I strongly believe that anybody who feels the urge to serve their country should be allowed to do so regardless of race, gender, or sexual orientation. I am appalled at the recent supreme court decision which upheld President Trump’s ban on transgender military service. While I continue to fight against this transphobic ban, I have decided to cosponsor the SERVE Act. Although this act alone does not make right the bigoted decision of the Trump administration, it would guarantee veterans benefits for those who were unduly discharged due to their gender identity or sexual orientation.
Our armed service members put their lives on the line for our country every day, and they deserve to be taken care of when they return home. Too often, veterans return to a country that is not adequately prepared to help assimilate them back into civilian life. Many veterans are never able to receive healthcare – both mental and physical – which they need. As a member of both the Medicare for All and Military Mental Health Caucuses, I have been on the front lines of Congress fighting to guarantee our veterans the healthcare that they need.
I firmly believe that anyone who has served our country deserves to be treated with the utmost respect, but this is unfortunately not the case for many vets. The US Department of Housing and Urban Development estimates that over forty thousand veterans are homeless on any given night; to me, this is unacceptable. I decided to cosponsor the Helping Homeless Veterans Act of 2019 because I believe that we can do better in providing our troops with a social and economic safety net once they come home.
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