“This is the time of year when we pause to pay tribute to America’s veterans – the ones who gave all a person can give so that we may live free. As we consider their sacrifices, let us vow to live up to the promises that we’ve made to them and their families. We cannot rest until our veterans have the 21st-century health care system they deserve. It is the least a grateful nation can do.” -House Speaker John Boehner, November 2014
Here is a look at some of the work the House has done recently on behalf of America’s veterans and their families:
VA Accountability. In April, more than 60 veterans from the American Legion and Concerned Veterans for America joined with Republican leaders to call for reforms in the wake of reports that senior officials at VA facilities associated with mismanagement and preventable deaths continued to receive positive performance reviews, bonuses, and promotions. Throughout the spring, Boehner highlighted stories from veterans in his district, including one in Fairfield, Ohio who said “a change has to be made.”
Hire More Heroes Act. In May, Rep. Rodney Davis (R-IL) used the Weekly Republican Address to urge the Senate to pass H.R. 3474, the Hire More Heroes Act, which would encourage employers to hire more of America’s veterans. Boehner and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) have cited the measure as one of the House-passed jobs bills the new majority will take up in January.
Access to Better Care. In August, Speaker Boehner signed H.R. 3230, the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act, which begins to address the problems at the VA by making sure veterans have timely access to care and making it easier to hold senior managers accountable. A month later, Boehner sent a letter to VA Secretary Bob McDonald seeking action on a real, independent audit of the department’s health care system.
Remembering Sacrifice. Finally, perhaps one of Speaker Boehner’s most poignant meetings this year was with Roy Coleman, a member of the Greatest Generation from Springfield, Ohio. During World War II, Roy was stationed in Anzio, Italy, where he lost most of his left leg in a shell accident. “Many, of course, lost much more,” Boehner said later that week in a Memorial Day tribute.