Reed Supports Increased Services, Programs for Veterans
Tom Reed voted Wednesday to increase support for the programs and services dedicated to serving the nation’s veterans. The Fiscal Year 2015 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations bill strengthens support for veteran services programs over last year’s bill and includes funding for military construction for family housing, medical, educational and training facilities.
“First and foremost, we are caring for our veterans by making sure they have quality medical care, job training programs and the benefits they earned serving our country,” Reed said. “For the millions of veterans and men and women of our Armed Forces who stood up for us, it is our turn now to stand up and care for them. We have an opportunity to improve their well-being and I am proud the House came together in a bipartisan way today to do just that.”
Specifically, the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations bill boosts support for:
· Efforts to end the claims backlog by providing $173 million for the paperless claims processing and checks on the VA’s progress;
· The modernization of the VA electronic health record system;
· VA medical services including funding for mental health care, suicide prevention, traumatic brain injury treatment, rural health initiatives, homeless veterans programs and job training programs.
Reed has been particularly vocal on the need to reduce the severe claims backlog within the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and continues to support measures to help veterans get their benefits faster.
“The massive backlog is unacceptable and unfair to veterans being forced to wait months or even years for the care they deserve,” Reed said. “There is no reason why veterans should ever go without benefits because bureaucracy is muddying the claims processing and I am pleased to have again worked with the Appropriations Committee to prioritize funding to help improve speed and efficiency of that claims processing.”
Reed meets regularly with veterans in the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes, holding veterans advisory board meetings to collect input and listening to the top priorities of the district’s veterans and service members. Reed has a staff member solely dedicated to helping veterans in the district and encourages constituents to use his office as a resource.
Having passed a budget earlier this year, the House began moving forward this week with the annual appropriations process. “Going through this process and having these debates openly and honestly in a transparent way is the fair approach taxpayers deserve,” Reed said. “It’s fitting we take care of our veterans and Armed Forces first in this year’s appropriations process.”