|WWII Combat Vet Jack Leh|
As I have stated in the past, I firmly believe one of my greatest responsibilities as Representative of the 15th District of Pennsylvania is to ensure veterans and their families have access to the resources and care they need and have earned. With my support, funding for veterans’ health programs has increased by more than 60% in recent years.
At the beginning of the 112th Congress, I was selected to serve on the House Committee on Appropriations, which is responsible for determining annual funding levels for the federal government’s many departments and agencies, including the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). This year, my colleagues on the Committee and I developed legislation (H.R. 2055, the Fiscal Year 2012 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act) that provides $127.8 billion for the VA to fully fund veterans’ compensation and benefits, education benefits, vocational rehabilitation, and housing loan programs. The bill also included $45.8 million in funding for the Arlington National Cemetery to address years of mismanagement that led to hundreds of cases of misidentified or misplaced remains.
Recognizing the importance and value of educating veterans returning from conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, Congress passed the Post-9/11 GI Bill in 2008 with my strong support. This new educational opportunity is currently helping countless veterans begin civilian careers with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed. Unfortunately, today’s challenging economy has made the transition to civilian life for many veterans more difficult than Congress anticipated when passing the Post-9/11 GI Bill.
To further support veterans in our area looking to enhance their careers, I will be hosting a Veterans Career Resource Day at Northampton Community College (NCC) on Friday, December 16, 2011. This important event will connect veterans of all ages with resources designed to ensure their success in today’s job market. I have invited employers from across our region to participate, and representatives from the VA’s Office of Vocational Rehabilitation and CareerLink® Lehigh Valley will be conducting helpful workshops for attendees. To learn more, please visit my website.
This Veterans Day, I encourage all Americans to join me in thanking our veterans and current members of the Armed Forces for their service to our nation.