Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand
U.S. Senator from New York
Posted: May 25, 2009 01:03 PM
Read More: Don't Ask Don't Tell, Honoring Veterans, Kirsten
Gillibrand, Memorial Day, Pro-Vets, Veterans, Veterans Administration,
Today, as we honor America's fallen soldiers, I ask you to join
me in renewing our commitment to the men and women who have served our
nation in the Armed Forces.
When I ran for Congress, I was clear about my opposition to the War in
Iraq. But while I did not agree with President Bush 's policies, I
worked hard in Congress to provide our servicemembers and returning
veterans with the health care and educational opportunities they
Now I am renewing those efforts in the U.S. Senate. Last week I
introduced legislation called PRO-VETS, to require the Veterans
Administration to seek out and provide our returning heroes with
information on the benefits they have earned. It will eliminate
red-tape and bureaucratic bottlenecks, and require timely responses
from the VA to all those who inquire about the benefits for which they
are eligible. I was shocked to find out the following statistics from
my home state of New York: •
While there are 237,302 veterans in New York City ,
181,360 are not receiving VA health care benefits. •
While there are 121,183 veterans in Western New York ,
87,217 are not receiving VA health care benefits. •
While there are 85,401 veterans in Central New York ,
61,220 are not receiving VA health care benefits. •
While there are 54,360 veterans in the Southern Tier ,
39,277 are not receiving VA health care benefits. •
While there are 92,549 veterans in the Capital Region ,
71,571 are not receiving VA health care benefits. •
While there are 46,762 veterans in the North Country ,
35,085 are not receiving VA health care benefits.
My legislation would close the gap between what our veterans are
eligible for and what they are receiving.
As I say in the news piece below, this is about shifting the focus of
the VA to become pro-active, not reactive.
While the US government provides our veterans with many benefits, I
believe there is much more still to be done to fulfill our promise to
those who risk their lives for our country. •
We need to expand health benefits to include treatment of autism for
children of retired and active duty servicemembers. •
We need to repeal Don't Ask Don't Tell to allow our soldiers to serve
openly and honestly, regardless of sexual orientation. •
We need to expand access to healthcare for veterans and their
families, including universal pre-natal care. •
We need to provide incentives to businesses in order to expand the
opportunities available to our veterans upon their return to civilian
life. In the meantime, it is my hope that my PRO-VETS bill, once
passed and signed into law, will at least help veterans take advantage
of the benefits that do exist.
For me, this bill is my small way of saying thanks to our brave
veterans for their service to our country.
I encourage you all to join me in honoring our veterans and service
personnel, not just today but every day.
They and their families have earned our thanks and our support.