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Veterans

We have an obligation to care for and honor America's servicemen and women, their families, and our veterans for their bravery and sacrifice. Congressional Democrats are keeping our promises to America's veterans.

While we continue to have combat troops deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan, the President is keeping his commitment to end the American war in Iraq in a responsible way with the recent announcement of the drawdown of U.S. forces to zero in Iraq by the end of this year.

With more returning soldiers, we renew our commitment to keep our promises to the nation's more than 2 million troops and reservists, their families, and 23 million veterans.

  • The President and Democrats in Congress are focused on taking major steps to help our men and women in uniform obtain good jobs when they come home. Learn more»
  • From 2007 through 2010, the Democratic-controlled Congress made historic progress for veterans, ranging from the New GI Bill to provide returning troops with the promise of a college education to strengthening veterans' health care. Learn more»

On the battlefield, the military pledges to leave no soldier behind.  As a nation, let it be our pledge that when they return home, we leave no veteran behind.

Latest News

70th Anniversary of Attack on Pearl Harbor - 12/7/11

Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi released the following statement today marking the 70th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor:

On a bright morning 70 years ago, Americans confronted a brutal attack on our soil - costing our nation more than 2,400 lives, destroying ships and aircraft stationed at Pearl Harbor, thrusting our country into a world war.  It was a moment of tragedy and loss, terror and grief; it brought us into a war against the forces of fascism and tyranny, on behalf of the cause of freedom worldwide.

Yet this attack also marked the beginning of a new chapter for the American people - a period of unity, resolve, leadership, and heroism.  It spurred us to action and service, sending our soldiers to brave beachheads and march across a continent; igniting the fires of our factories to support the war effort on the home front; bringing Americans together to do what was necessary to support our troops and contribute to our ultimate victory.

In the wake of Pearl Harbor, Americans ushered in an era defined by the belief in our ability to succeed and thrive as one people and one nation, whether in times of war or peace.  We were inspired by the bravery of our service members - the devotion to service we honor, admire, and cherish in each generation of our armed forces.  We were reminded that our strength stems from what we share: our common values and our bonds of country and community.

As we remember those lost at Pearl Harbor, let us renew that spirit of unity.  Let us take inspiration from the achievements of the ‘Greatest Generation' and pledge to overcome today's challenges with courage and a firm commitment to our nation's values, security, progress, and prosperity.

House Passes the VOW to Hire Heroes Act, 11/16/11

Today, the House passed the “VOW to Hire Heroes Act.”  Part of President Obama's American Jobs Act, this legislation creates tax credits to encourage businesses to hire service members and those with service-related disabilities.  The bill also provides veterans with the training they need to find a job in civilian life.  This measure already passed the Senate and President Obama is expected to sign it into law.  Leader Pelosi:

America's men and women in uniform put their lives on the line every day to preserve our security, protect our values, and promote freedom worldwide.  The single best action we can take to honor their service and support our veterans is to create jobs.  With passage of the VOW to Hire Heroes Act, we have upheld that charge - reigniting the American dream and building ladders of opportunity for our nation's heroes; serving our troops as well as they have served us.

After pressure from Democrats in Congress, House Republican leaders had no choice but to bring this bill - part of President Obama's American Jobs Act - to the floor.  But passing a Democratic jobs bill doesn't change the facts: after 314 days in the majority, House Republicans still refuse to offer a clear jobs agenda.

Today's vote is a victory for our veterans, our economy, and our prosperity.  America's service members are highly-skilled; they have demonstrated enormous leadership in the heat of battle.  And with this bill, America will welcome our soldiers, sailors, Marines, airmen, and Coast Guardsmen back into their communities as entrepreneurs, small business owners, and workers.

Leader Pelosi Visits the San Francisco Veterans Administration Medical Center's (SFVAMC) Community Living Center - 11/7/11

@NancyPelosi: .@VASanFrancisco visiting & thanking resident veterans-they are our heroes & our priority

Nancy Pelosi and the San Francisco VA Hospital

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pelosi: Single Best Action We Can Take to Support Troops and Veterans is Creating Jobs - 11/7/11

Leader Pelosi released the following statement today after President Obama called on Congress to pass provisions of the American Jobs Act that put veterans back to work now:

As veterans organizations reinforced to House Democrats last week, the single best action we can take to support our troops and veterans is creating jobs.  Those who have served our nation in uniform are highly-skilled, they have demonstrated enormous leadership, and their service should be honored with job opportunities waiting for them when they come home. 

President Obama's American Jobs Act includes tax credits for businesses that hire unemployed veterans and veterans with service-connected disabilities. This jobs legislation should enjoy bipartisan support but Republicans continue to block it.  Today, Democrats also cheer President Obama's announcement that will take Administrative action to help get veterans back on the job, as well as their efforts to expand small business contracting opportunities for our veterans. 

This week, the Senate is likely to debate the ‘VOW to Hire Heroes Act of 2011,' which combines a key component of President Obama's jobs bill with a related, bipartisan initiative to boost employment opportunities for veterans.  Senate Democrats have committed their support, and House Democrats have supported a similar initiative.  We hope that this week, the week our nation honors Veterans Day, Republicans will join us.

President Obama and Democrats in Congress are working tirelessly to open the door to job opportunities and put veterans back to work.  These efforts are critical to our community of veterans and to the strength of our economy.  On the battlefield, the military pledges to leave no soldier behind.  As a nation, let it be our pledge that when they return home, we leave no veteran behind.

Veterans Roundtable - 11/2/11

@NancyPelosi: Hearing from leaders of veterans & military service orgs about #JobsNow for vets & support for military fams

Veterans roundtable

Read Leader Pelosi's opening remarks»

Congressional Gold Medal Ceremony Honoring Japanese-American Veterans - 11/2/11

Today, Leader Pelosi, Speaker Boehner, and Members of Congress held a ceremony to bestow the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian award given by Congress, to Japanese-American veterans who served in the 100th Infantry Battalion, the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, and the Military Intelligence Service during WWII-including Senator Inouye who was a member of “E” Company.

Gold Medal Ceremony

Their official motto was “Go For Broke” and they're one of the most decorated US military unit in our history with more than 18,000 individual decorations, including 9,486 Purple Hearts and 4,000 Bronze Stars.

A group of 100th Infantry Battalion soldiers.

Despite the fact that many of the soldiers, and their families, were in internment camps and considered “enemy aliens”, they petitioned to serve and fight for the freedoms they themselves were being denied. As Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa explains:

Today marks an emotional and extraordinary moment in our history. Nearly 70 years after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the members of the 100th Infantry Battalion, the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, and the Military Intelligence Service are finally receiving the honor and recognition they deserve. In a time of war, these Japanese-American soldiers volunteered to fight for a country that did not fight for them. They faced prejudices at home and abroad, but continued to demonstrate their unwavering loyalty and courage in combat. These heroes have set the example for our military and our nation to embrace the differences and strengths of all our citizens. As we celebrate these veterans and their families, let us remember their fallen comrades who could not be with us today. We are forever grateful for their sacrifice and service to our country.

Learn more about the amazing history of those who served in 100th Infantry Battalion, the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, and the Military Intelligence Service at GoForBroke.org»

Watch the ceremony:

Read Leader Pelosi's remarks»

President Obama's Iraq Announcement - 10/21/11

Leader Pelosi following President Obama's remarks on Iraq:

President Obama's statement that many of our military families will spend the holidays together is welcome news to all Americans.  I commend the President for a promise made and a promise kept, honoring the U.S.-Iraq Security Agreement and the wishes of the American people to bring all our troops home by the end this year.

This announcement brings us toward the completion of a mission for which our men and women in uniform and their families have made enormous sacrifices.  We thank them for their dedication, and we will never forget those we lost.  Just as they commit to leave no one behind on the battlefield, we will leave no veteran behind when they come home - honoring their service with the economic opportunities and benefits they were promised.

In Libya, the United States and our allies have helped move the nation out of a tyrannical regime and toward freedom and the rule of law.  Again, the President did as he said he would, achieving our goal in Libya without putting a single American boot on the ground.  The demise of Osama bin Laden and Moammar Qaddafi, two individuals responsible for the deaths of thousands of Americans and other innocent civilians, is also a credit to strong US leadership.  Additionally, the transition in Afghanistan is well under way in order to bring our troops there home.

President Obama and our men and women in uniform have honored our international commitments and advanced our national security.  We express our gratitude to those still serving abroad and to the many who brought us to this day.

Pelosi: Veterans benefits not on the table - 9/2/11

@NancyPelosi: .@AmericanLegion on my speech yesterday - Pelosi: Veterans benefits not on the table

Pelosi: Veterans benefits not on the table
By Steve B. Brooks

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi told convention delegates that the interests of veterans will be protected during the budget crisis.

When the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction sits down in the coming weeks to look at ways to cut more than $1 trillion from the federal budget, veterans benefits won't be one of the casualties.

Addressing The American Legion's 93rd National Convention in Minneapolis today, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi told convention delegates that the interests of veterans will be protected during the budget crisis.

"In the weeks ahead ... Congress will take up the budget at a table of 12," Pelosi said. "I want The American Legion, and all of America to know - that the values of America's veterans will have a strong presence at that congressional table. I want to assure you that as we reduce the deficit, America's veterans will not be short-changed. Meeting the needs of our veterans ... is a value of the American people that we will protect in those negotiations.

"Supporting our veterans is a bipartisan cause. That's the beautiful part of it. It's a place we can all come together. America's veterans have earned our respect by their actions, their bravery and their valor, their willingness to step forward and serve on our behalf."

Pelosi also touched on the unemployment crisis facing U.S. veterans - including an unemployment rate of more than 12 percent for post-9/11 veterans. "Our work will not be complete until every American who has fought for our country abroad can find a job when they come home," she said. "We must build an economy that welcomes our servicemembers home with an opportunity for a paycheck and a fair shot to succeed. "

Pelosi said one way to create more jobs is to stop exporting them to other countries. "It is a national security issue that we stop the erosion of our manufacturing base in our country," she said. "We must be self-reliant. We cannot defend our country when we are depending on other countries supplying us with the means to produce what we need to defend."

Watch Leader Pelosi's remarks at the American Legion's 93rd National Convention»

Memorial Day - 5/27/11

Leader Pelosi:

On Memorial Day, we honor those who gave their lives so we can be the land of the free and the home of the brave. Throughout our history, the members of our armed forces have fought to establish a nation, to preserve our union, to defend democracy and defeat tyranny on distant shores. They are our heroes; they reflect the best of the American people. \xe2\x80\xaa

Some of our men and women in uniform lost their lives on the battlefield, never to return to the country they served; others fought valiantly, and came safely home. All were defined by their courage and their bravery, their dedication to duty and their devotion to our country. Each generation of soldiers is bound together by this tradition; each has made our nation safer, our families more secure.

\xe2\x80\xaaThis legacy lives on in the hearts and memories of parents and friends, sisters and brothers, children and neighbors - indeed, all Americans cherish their service and sacrifice. It can be summed up in the words inscribed on the wall of Baltimore's Memorial Stadium when I was growing up, ‘Time will not dim the glory of their deeds.'

\xe2\x80\xaaIn Congress, we must continue to ensure that the deeds of our service members are remembered in the actions of our lawmakers; we must treat every day as Memorial Day. And we will continue to uphold our solemn pledge: just as the military leaves no one behind on the battlefield, we will leave no veteran behind at home.

The Hiring Heroes Act Introduced - 5/25/11

Leader Pelosi:

Our men and women in uniform fight abroad so we can know safety and security at home. Yet when they return from war and re-enter civilian life, too many soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines find it difficult to translate skills learned during active-duty service to potential employers, making it harder for them to secure a job, a paycheck, and a future worthy of their sacrifice.

The Hiring Heroes Act tackles this challenge head-on - helping our men and women in uniform obtain good jobs when they come home. This legislation strengthens much-needed training programs for veterans, and encourages businesses and government contractors to hire the brave men and women who have developed valuable skills and professionalism while in the armed forces. This builds on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, helping fill in education gaps for our veterans and prepare them to succeed in our economy.

This bipartisan legislation reflects our ongoing pledge to our service members: just as they leave no one behind on the battlefield, we will leave no veteran behind when they come home. Their service to our nation's defense and to our children's future warrants nothing less.

Learn more about the The Hiring Heroes Act»

Remembering US Army Corporal Frank Buckles - 3/15/11

@NancyPelosi: Capitol flag at half-staff today in honor of #USArmy Corporal Frank Buckles & in remembrance of all WWI #Veterans

Capitol Flag

Republicans Say ‘So Be It' to America's Veterans - 2/23/11

More than 75,000 of our nation's veterans were homeless in January 2009 and over the course of the year nearly twice that many (136,000) spent at least one night in a homeless shelter. The GOP ‘So Be It' spending bill passed at 4:40 am last Saturday eliminates housing vouchers to homeless veterans.

In the last GOP-forced government shutdown more than 400,000 veterans saw their disability benefits and pension claims delayed and educational benefits were delayed for 170,000 veterans.

Democrats opposed the GOP spending bill that says ‘so be it' to our veterans and have offered a responsible path forward to avoid a shutdown that will keep vital services and protections in place while Democrats and Republicans work to pass a bill the President can sign into law for the remainder of 2011.

Learn more»

More News

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act makes key investments for our veterans. It provides incentives for businesses to hire recently discharged unemployed veterans, and expands housing assistance for disabled veterans. The legislation addresses deficiencies at aging military hospitals and VA hospitals and improves claims and benefits processing. It also invests in housing for troops and families, supports reservists in the National Guard, provides assistance to military homeowners, and funds warrior transition complexes to provide services to wounded warriors and their families.  

Learn more about the bill's investments for veterans»

Addressing the Needs of Military Families

In addition to addressing the needs of America's service men and women, we are also focusing on those of their families. While we salute our men and women in uniform for the courage and bravery that they exhibit in battle, we must also recognize the sacrifices of their families.

In recent years, the Congress has worked in a bipartisan manner to more closely analyze the needs of the family while military personnel are deployed; equally important we need to make certain that the families have the tools they need for transition when loved ones return home. To date we have made progress in the key areas of jobs and the economy, health care, family support, housing and education. More needs to be done as more troops are expected to be return home in the coming years.

Read the report on the 111th Congress' progress for military families»

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act: Creating Jobs & Improving Quality of Life for Our Troops and Veterans

As President Obama has often stated, one of the chief goals of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, signed by the President on February 17, is to create jobs by putting Americans to work doing the work that America needs done.  The long-neglected infrastructure needs of both our military and veterans' facilities, as the Walter Reed scandal highlighted, require swift action.  That is why this legislation identifies and funds some of the most pressing infrastructure needs of the military and VA.  Funding these infrastructure projects will create tens of thousands of new jobs, along with taking another step in keeping our promises to our troops and veterans.  This legislation also includes other key provisions - including giving businesses tax credits for hiring unemployed veterans and providing disabled veterans a payment of $250.  In addition, it includes other provisions to improve the lives of our troops and veterans, such as funding additional child care centers and warrior transition centers for wounded warriors returning from combat.

Improving the Quality of Life for Our Troops

  • Renovating and Making More Energy-Efficient DOD Facilities:  Provides $4.2 billion to invest in energy efficient projects and to repair and modernize a variety of Department of Defense facilities. 
  • Improving the Hospitals for Our Troops: Provides $1.3 billion for rebuild and renovate our aging military hospitals and ambulatory care centers.  Many of these facilities are 40 or even 50 years old, and are not suited to current medical standards and practices. 
  • Providing Assistance to Military Homeowners: Provides $555 million for assistance to military homeowners, including wounded warriors and surviving spouses, who have been impacted by the housing crisis.
  • Improving Troop and Family Housing:  Provides $335 million to build new barracks and dormitories for our soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen as well as to make further investments in quality family housing for military families. 
  • Expanding Child Care for Military Families:  Provides $240 million for new child development centers on military bases across the country.  These facilities will help military spouses hold down jobs and will provide employment opportunities for caregivers.
  • Establishing Warrior Transition Complexes: Provides $100 million for warrior transition complexes to provide services to wounded warriors returning from combat and their families.
  • Constructing Needed Facilities for the National Guard: Provides $100 million for new construction of operations and training facilities to support National Guard units across the country.   

Improving the Quality of Life for Our Veterans

  • Providing Businesses A Tax Credit for Hiring Unemployed Veterans: Provides a tax credit to businesses for hiring unemployed veterans.  Specifically, veterans would qualify if they were discharged or released from active duty from the Armed Forces during the previous five years and received unemployment benefits for more than 4 weeks before being hired.
  • Providing Disabled Veterans A Payment of $250:  Provides a payment of $250 to all disabled veterans receiving benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs.  (This $250 payment, which also goes to retirees, SSI beneficiaries and Railroad Retirement beneficiaries, is targeted to those who are likely not to benefit from the Making Work Pay tax credit.)
  • Improving the Hospitals for Our Veterans:  Provides $1 billion for non-recurring maintenance, including energy efficiency projects, to address deficiencies and avoid serious maintenance problems at the 153 VA hospitals across the country.  
  • Increasing the Number of VA Claims Processors:  Provides $150 million for an increase in VA claims processing staff, in order to address the large backlog in processing veterans' claims.  This backlog has been a key complaint of veterans across the country.
  • Improving Automation of VA Benefit Processing:  Provides $50 million to improve the automation of the processing of veterans' benefits, to get benefits out sooner and more accurately.
  • Constructing Extended Care Facilities for Veterans: Provides $150 million for state grants for the construction of additional extended care facilities for veterans. 

GI Bill for the 21st Century

In 2008, the Democratic-led Congress passed the new GI Bill for the 21st Century (the "Post-9/11 GI Bill") to restore the promise of a full, four-year college education for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans. To apply for a certificate of eligibility for the new college benefits, visit the VA website.
 

Educating our nation's veterans is a cost of war, and it is a promise we should make to our troops for their courageous service to our country. Those Americans who have stepped forward to serve in Iraq and Afghanistan have earned the right to a bright future when they return home.

Watch highlights from the rally for the 21st Century GI Bill»

Read more about the GI Bill for the 21st Century»
 

60th Anniversary of Integration of U.S. Armed Forces

60th Anniversary of Integration of U.S. Armed Forces

On July 23rd, 2008, Speaker Pelosi joined with House and Senate leaders in the Capitol Rotunda to commemorate President Truman's executive order 60 years ago that marked the beginning of racial integration in the armed services.  Speaker Pelosi said, “When called on their country to serve, African Americans did so with courage, honor and distinction--just as many do today. When called by conscience to serve the civil rights movement, they provided indispensable moral leadership, defended liberty, and redefined America for the better."

Read Speaker Pelosi's full speech»

Watch a slideshow of photographs from the ceremony»

 

The Largest Increase in Funding for Veterans Health in the VA's 77-Year History

This Congress has proven our commitment by providing the largest increase in funding for veterans health care in the VA's 77-year history. With the VA expected to treat 5.8 million patients in the coming year--including more than 260,000 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans--Congress has made it a priority to fund health care and benefits that they were promised and that they deserve.

Congress has voted for historic increases in veterans' health care and benefits programs, totaling nearly $12 billion, to meet the needs of returning veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Congress has fought to pass a pay raise for our troops, which the previous administration opposed. President Bush threatened to veto legislation including a 3.5% pay raise for our men and women in uniform, calling it “unnecessary.”

The House has passed legislation that will provide veterans with the health care and benefits they deserve, resulting in the hiring of more qualified doctors and nurses to improve medical services to our veterans and to reduce waiting times for doctor appointments, and provide more to help veterans suffering from traumatic brain injury (TBI), Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and mental health care issues.

Action on veterans' health care is crucial - there are significant problems in the military health care system and a significant rise in veterans suffering from mental disorders. More than one-third of the 230,000 new veterans who have applied for medical assistance from the Veterans' Affairs Department suffer with mental disorders. The Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations legislation provides $600 million more than the President's request for mental health, PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injury and makes five polytrauma centers and three Centers of Excellence for Mental Health and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) fully operational this year to care for those returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, including those with TBI.

Speaker Pelosi, Leader Hoyer, Chairman Chet Edwards, and Rep. Nancy Boyda on the largest funding increase in the 77-year history of the Veterans Administration: