We have a responsibility to care for the women and men who have served our nation in the armed forces. The people who swear an oath to defend our country do the work and make the sacrifices that keep us safe. It is their government’s duty to care for them as they transition to civilian life or if they are struggling with a visible or invisible fight.
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers a range of services and benefits for military veterans and eligible dependents who meet certain criteria. These benefits include medical care, disability compensation and pensions, education, vocational rehabilitation assistance to homeless veterans, administration of life insurance and traumatic injury protection insurance, and death benefits that cover burial expenses.
For more information on these and all other benefits offered by the Department, you can visit www.va.gov.
I take my responsibility to our veterans seriously. That is why I have co-sponsored:
- H.R. 299,the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act, to extend presumption of service and exposure to Agent Orange for veterans who served in the waters off Vietnam. This bill was passed by the House and Senate and signed into law by the President on June 25, 2019.
- H.R. 186, the Veterans Jobs Opportunity Act, to provide tax credits for military veterans who open a small business in underserved communities.
- H.R. 663, the Burn Pit Accountability Act, to direct the Department of Defense to evaluate whether servicemembers were exposed to toxic chemicals used in burn pits.
- H.R. 3867, the Violence Against Women Veterans Act, to direct the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to improve the services and benefits that the Department offers to veterans who experience domestic violence or sexual assault.
Help for Constituent Servicemembers
I have long supported our military veterans and often meet with organizations representing former servicemembers from New Jersey. My office is always ready to assist constituents with any questions about, or requests for, assistance with the Department of Veterans Affairs. If you or someone you know wants to contact my office with questions about casework with the VA, please click here. I was honored to receive a 2019 Legislator of the Year Award from the New Jersey Veterans of Foreign Wars for my work on behalf of our servicemembers.
More on Veterans
This week, I voted to pass the Divided Family Reunification Act, the Consumer Protection and Recovery Act, the Allies Act, and the PFAS Action Act. I also cosponsored legislation to incentivize renewable energy investments, establish a strategy to manage biodiversity loss, raise awareness for black maternal mental health, and streamline access to health care for veterans exposed to burn pits. As Chairman of the Western Hemisphere Subcommittee, I led a hearing on the historic protests and repression of free expression in Cuba.
This week, I spoke in solidarity with the Cuban people who are protesting the Castro/Diaz-Canel dictatorship in Cuba, and thanked President Biden for showing the United States’ clear support for democracy on the island. The House Foreign Affairs Committee held a markup and a hearing where I asked USAID Administrator Samantha Power to do all that is possible to advance critical democracy and human rights programming on the island.
Last week, several colleagues and I met with Vice President Harris to discuss root causes of migration from Central America. I voted in favor of the bipartisan bill to create a commission investigating the insurrection on January 6, 2021. I also voted in favor of providing additional funding to the Capitol Police to strengthen security at the Capitol Complex. I cosponsored several pieces of legislation including a federal protection for abortion access, free menstrual products for students and through Medicaid, and equal pay for women in the military.
Last week, I participated in a House Foreign Affairs Committee markup, where we discussed a number of important bills including regaining observer status for Taiwan in the World Health Organization, accountability for the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, and repealing the Authorization for the Use of Military Force Against Iraq. I also participated in a Foreign Affairs Committee hearing examining congressional war powers. I cosponsored bills protecting paid sick leave, ensuring injured veterans receive full pensions, and creating a program to teach financial literacy in secondary schools.
This week, the House passed legislation to reform our elections for the people, and to enact sweeping reforms to policing. I chaired a House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere hearing focused on the challenged for the Biden administration regarding Venezuela. I also signed onto legislation to increase background checks for firearms, increase screening for colorectal cancer, ensure veterans who worked with atomic radiation are fairly compensated, protect LGBTQ+ youth, and to increase standards for pregnant women being detained.
Last week, the House passed the American Rescue Plan, a comprehensive $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill that will help hard-working Americans and reinvigorate our economy. The House also passed legislation to ensure equal rights regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity. I attended a markup of the American Rescue Plan with the House Committee on the Budget and attended a markup for the House Foreign Affairs Committee on legislation to revitalize the State Department.
This week, I signed on to a number of bills including ones to provide funding for restaurants, develop an offshore wind workforce, and review and repeal of laws discriminating against individuals with HIV. I also joined letters urging congressional leaders to not narrow income eligibility requirements for stimulus payments, and to begin the offshore wind leasing process in the New York Bight. I also had meetings with Enes Kanter, activist and professional basketball player, and James Rajotte, Alberta, Canada’s Senior Representative to the United States.
This week, the country celebrated the inauguration of President Biden as the 46th President of the United States. It was an inspiring and uplifting day, and highlighted how much work must be done this term to build up and renew our communities. As the pandemic continues to rage across the country paired with unemployment rates that remain far too high, and with an urgent need to forcefully confront our climate crisis, leadership, truth, and informed public policy are greatly needed.
This week, the House voted on legislation to protect big cats from hostile internment, establish community advantage loan programs to help small businesses, and federally decriminalize marijuana. I also led a letter to House leadership highlighting the impact of COVID-19 on the affordable housing crisis in New Jersey and asking them to include relief measures in the next relief package.
This week, I joined the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey to discuss affordable housing in the 8th District. I introduced legislation to support our economic partners in Latin America and the Caribbean and cosponsored legislation to provide Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to schools, get surplus computers to our nation’s veterans and students, and reaffirm our commitment to marriage equality.