Persistence … that’s what you need in today’s Congress.
Take Tim Walz, whose initial campaign for Congress (a successful one in 2006), was to criticize Washington for breaking “its promise to care for veterans”, and he is still at it.
Persistence … like the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act (which was finally enacted this term after failing to be approved in the previous Congress).
Sadly, to get the bill enacted, certain provisions (and increased funding) were eliminated … like a provision so that soldiers could not be discharged from the military without proper diagnosis for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brian Injuries.
Persistence and partners … that’s what is needed.
Well, Tim Walz in a bipartisan manner has authored H.R.4683 Fairness For Veterans Act (the legislation is supported by Representatives Mike Coffman (R-CO), Lee Zeldin (R-NY), Kathleen Rice (D-NY), Ryan Zinke (R-MT), Steve Russell (R-OK), Peter King (R-NY), Walter Jones (R-NC), Seth Moulton (D-MA), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Patrick Murphy (D-FL), and Ruben Gallego (D-AZ).
The Fairness for Veterans Act ensures the most vulnerable veteran population receives the care and benefits they have earned. Currently, veterans with less-than-honorable discharges, or “bad paper” discharges, may not be eligible for a broad range of healthcare and benefits including critical mental healthcare services.
According to Representative Coffman, the Army has separated at least 22,000 combat veterans with less-than-honorable discharges since 2009. A less than honorable discharge is often issued to service members for minor misconduct, including being late to formation and being absent without leave. These actions, however, can be linked with behavior seen in returning combat veterans suffering from PTSD.
The Fairness for Veterans Act has a companion bill in the Senate — S. 1567 sponsored by six Democrats and three Republicans.
With this being an election year, the number of days that Congress will be in session is limited and they tend to want to avoid actually resolving controversial issues … thus this week, the House approved naming over ten Post Offices and federal buildings.
Since the Fairness for Veterans Act is one that has support from both parties … we just need to encourage all Members of the Minnesota delegation to become cosponsors of Tim Walz’s proposal … so email Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken to sponsor S 1567 and Tom Emmer, Keith Ellison, John Kline, Betty McCollum, Rick Nolan, Erik Paulsen and Collin Peterson to sponsor HR 4683.