Congresswoman Maxine Waters Salutes Veterans
Congresswoman Maxine Waters (CA-35) expressed her appreciation for the service and sacrifice of our nation's veterans, service members and military families as she participated in several Veterans Day events.
On Wednesday she spoke at an event hosted by the Hawthorne Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2075 with participation from the American Legion. In her remarks, she thanked veterans for their contributions while in uniform and noted that many of the two million veterans currently living in California continue to make a difference in our neighborhoods and communities. "Today we honor our veterans – our heroes," Congresswoman Waters said. "Today we remember the millions of brave men and women who answered the call to serve in our nation's military throughout history, and we thank them all."
She also paid tribute to Eduviges "Duvi" Preciado Wolf, an Army sergeant from Hawthorne killed in Afghanistan and expressed her condolences to Duvi's sister Cecilia who was present and recognized by Congresswoman Waters.
Congresswoman Waters emphasized that our nation must express appreciation for our veterans, not only in words but also in deeds. "We do this by fulfilling our obligations to veterans – and also to service members and military families. We must make sure that they have access to and know about the wide range of programs and services designed to help them. We are obligated to ensure our veterans have timely access to healthcare, including mental health treatment, receive the full disability benefits they deserve and need, are provided opportunities for higher education, receive assistance to transition back into society and civilian jobs, and have housing and available services," she said.
The 111th Congress has worked in a bipartisan manner to help veterans and to support service members and military families. With the help and advocacy of organizations like the VFW and the American Legion, this Congress has passed landmark legislation and unprecedented funding to benefit our military and their families. We have passed the largest increase in funding for veterans health care in the 77 year history of the Department of Veterans Affairs.
The stimulus package and supplemental bills increased 2009 veterans funding by $1.4 billion. In addition, the House successfully passed an appropriations bill that would add $14.5 billion to the budget in 2010 and voted to provide funding for Fiscal Year 2011 to ensure the best care for America's wounded warriors in the future.
Earlier on Wednesday, Congresswoman Waters addressed a crowd at the Veterans Day breakfast in Inglewood hosted by U.S. Vets, a non-profit organization which helps veterans with housing and employment assistance.
Congresswoman Waters attended the third annual "Honor a Hero, Hire a Vet" Career Expo and Resource Fair in Los Angeles on Tuesday, where she presented U.S. Vets with a certificate in recognition of its efforts to assist homeless and at-risk veterans.
The Veterans Affairs Department estimates that approximately 131,000 veterans are homeless on any given night and approximately 260,000 veterans experience homelessness over the course of a year. Veterans comprise as much as one third of the nation's homeless population.
"While many federal programs have been aimed at assisting families, the VA has struggled to reach many single homeless veterans, leaving many veterans to seek assistance from local government agencies and service organizations in their communities. U.S. Vets does an outstanding job meeting the needs of veterans and providing assistance," Congresswoman Waters said.
She added, "I am convinced that the Obama Administration is committed to addressing these issues. Last week, during the VA Department's summit "Ending Homelessness among Veterans," Secretary Shinseki announced a comprehensive plan to end homelessness among veterans using resources of the federal government, business and the private sector. This plan includes preventive measures like discharge planning for incarcerated Veterans re-entering society, supportive services for low-income Veterans and their families and a national referral center to link Veterans to local service providers. Additionally, the plan calls for expanded efforts for education, jobs, health care and housing. I will be working with my colleagues in Congress to ensure these programs are implemented effectively."
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