Why it matters: Serving our country in uniform is an extremely noble undertaking that all-too-often goes under-appreciated and unnoticed. Our nation has a responsibility to honor our promise to the men and women who selflessly place themselves in harm’s way.
Where I stand: As the son of an Air Force Master Sergeant, I learned at an early age about the sacrifices of our men and women in uniform, as well as the unique challenges military families face. I brought these values with me to Washington where I am committed to enhancing the quality of life for both our veterans and their families.
Accountability must be restored at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in order to end the systematic, widespread problems at VA medical centers across the. This is why the CHOICE ACT [P.L. 113-146] was passed into law. Among other things, the law gives the VA Secretary the authority to fire or demote senior VA employees for poor performance, providing a mechanism to remove or demote managers who fail our veterans.
Ensuring access to health care services is another key reform in the CHOICE Act. Veterans must have the ability to seek care outside of the system when they live a distance from a VA facility or if their facilities fail to provide them with reliable, timely and high-quality health care services.
While the CHOICE Act is a good start to reforming VA’s health care system, more work remains to be done. Improving services for veterans struggling with mental illness is one area where lawmakers need to continue to focus our attention. We must continue to increase access to mental health programs, provide care for veterans struggling with opioid addiction and improve resources for members of the military transitioning to civilian life. We also must strengthen and improve the CHOICE program, taking into account lessons learned and ensuring the future viability of community care.
Fighting for our veterans doesn’t start and end with their healthcare needs. In this particularly difficult economy, I remain committed to making sure veterans have all the economic opportunities they deserve. This means fighting for jobs and education benefits for veterans and improving programs that help homeless veterans find housing and a path forward to a stable life.
I am committed to working hard for the veterans in Arkansas and will use my assignment on the Veterans' Affairs Committee and my position as chairman of the Appropriations Committee’s Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Subcommittee to find solutions to issues our veterans face and ensure funding for the benefits they have earned.