The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides a range of benefits and services to veterans and eligible dependents who meet certain criteria as authorized by law. These benefits include medical care, disability compensation and pensions, education, vocational rehabilitation and employment services, assistance to homeless veterans, home loan guarantees, administration of life insurance and traumatic injury protection insurance for servicemembers, and death benefits that cover burial expenses.
It is vital that Congress provide the VA with the resources and oversight needed to assist veterans in the most effective and transparent way possible. Since I became a member of Congress, I have worked to ensure that all our veterans are given access to affordable housing, healthcare, and tuition assistance. With our aging veteran population and so many new veterans returning home, I am committed to providing veterans and their families with the care and benefits they deserve.
I am proud to have cosponsored numerous pieces of legislation that seek to bolster programs to help veterans and their families adjust to civilian life, obtain quality health care, and access the services they need including H.R. 1472, the Military and Veteran Caregiver Services Improvement Act, and H.R. 3272, the Veteran Education Empowerment Act. H.R. 1472, introduced by Rep. James Langevin (D-RI), would improve services and support for family caregivers of military servicemembers and veterans by expanding eligibility for benefits. H.R. 3272, introduced by Rep. Lois Frankel (D-FL), would establish a grant program through the Department of Education for colleges and universities to create veteran student centers to help student veterans obtain federal and state benefits, thrive in school, and find a job after graduation.
Our men and women in uniform face enormous challenges adjusting to civilian life upon returning home, and I support efforts to help our veterans make this transition. Just as the military pledges to leave no soldier behind on the battlefield, we will leave no veteran behind when they return home.
More on Veterans
This week in Washington, I voted for the passage of legislation to support veteran-owned small businesses as well as a bill to increase the competitiveness of U.S. exports. I met with DACA recipients, the New Jersey League of Conservation, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, and more to discuss the impacts of federal policy on our community. I also attended a House Budget Committee hearing with the Chair of the Federal Reserve and a Europe and Eurasia Subcommittee hearing on democratic values in NATO.
Congress returned to Washington this week and began working to protect our shorelines from oil and gas drilling. Since the Senate is also back from recess, I believe it is time for Senate Majority Leader to act immediately on passing commonsense gun reform legislation already passed in the House, like H.R. 8, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019. This week, I also met with the New Jersey Veterans of Foreign Wars and convened the Western Hemisphere Subcommittee for a hearing on deforestation in the Amazon and the recent outbreak of devastating fires.
(Washington, D.C.) – Today, Representative Albio Sires (D-NJ), issued the following statement regarding the Trump Administration’s decision to take millions of dollars from military projects to fund a border wall:
“Every single day, our servicemen and women work around the world to carry out their mission of defending our nation, our partners, and our values. That honorable work is as important today as it has ever been, and it is their government’s responsibility to provide them with the tools they need to get those jobs done.
Last week in Washington, the House continued to advance the funding for fiscal year (FY) 2020 as well as vote on humanitarian assistance for migrants at the Southern border and election security. I spoke at a House Committee on the Budget hearing about the positive impact of immigrants on our economy, received the Legislator of the Year award from the New Jersey Department of Veterans of Foreign Wars, and met with stakeholders as a part of my work on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.
Last week in Washington, the House considered remedies to veteran’s services, consumer protection, and retirement savings. I met with community groups focused on youth job training, postal services, and disaster relief in Puerto Rico. I also attended a post office dedication in Belleville and executed my Budget and Foreign Affairs Committee duties.
Each year, the creation our federal government’s annual budget is a collaboration between the Executive Branch and Congress to set the course for our nation’s priorities. Initiating the process for fiscal year (FY) 2020, President Trump released his budget request on March 11, 2019 to Congress, reflecting a compilation of his administration’s experience running our federal agencies and including their priorities for the upcoming year.
Last week in Washington, the House of Representatives voted on historic measures to overturn the President’s veto and establish pay equality for all Americans regardless of gender. I attended two hearings to question Administration officials on difference aspects of the disastrous Trump Budget, as well as chaired the Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere hearing on corruption in Latin America.
Last week in Washington, I attended hearings on all three committees that I serve – Budget, Foreign Affairs, and Transportation – as well as served my first Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere hearing as the Chairman. The House of Representatives also passed legislation addressing the President’s national emergency declaration, gun control, and the future of STEM education.
Last week in Washington, my bill to reform commuter safety inspections passed the House, along with increased child care services for veterans’ families. I met with representatives of the New Jersey Education Association, the Puerto Rico Manufacturing Association, and a number of foreign delegations. I continue to work with my colleagues on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs to address the crisis in Venezuela, and my colleagues and I on the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure met for the first time in the 116th Congress.
Last week in Washington, I cosponsored a number of bills to enhance veterans’ health, attended two Foreign Affairs Subcommittee hearings which examined Russia as a counterterrorism partner and the effectiveness of the Kingpin Designation Act, and spoke on the floor about the dangerous effects of the Majority’s tax plan. I also met with different groups to discuss legislative priorities.