Representatives Gabbard And Perry Launch Congressional Post-9/11 Veterans Caucus On 12th Anniversary of Iraq War
Washington, D.C. – Today, on the 12th anniversary of the Iraq War, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI-02) and Congressman Scott Perry (R-PA-04) launched the Congressional Post-9/11 Veterans Caucus. They were joined by Congressman Ruben Gallego (D-AZ-07), Congressman Mark Takai (D-HI-01), Congressman Ted Lieu (D-CA-33), and Congressman Seth Moulton (D-MA-06).
The Congressional Post-9/11 Veterans Caucus will include a bipartisan group of Members who have served in the military after 9/11, and who are dedicated to issues related to our newest generation of veterans. The caucus’ legislative agenda will focus on the 2.8 million veterans who have served and deployed since 9/11, and provide a forum for this new generation of veterans to voice their concerns and ideas.
“Taking care of our brothers and sisters in uniform who have selflessly served our country must be a priority for Congress,” said Congresswoman Gabbard. “The bond that exists between those of us who have served spans across all generations. As Members of Congress who share the experience of this newest generation of veterans, we have the privilege of serving as their voice, working toward ensuring that their unique concerns are addressed, and that their ideas and potential are realized. I am pleased to join my friend and fellow veteran Congressman Scott Perry in bringing our newest generation of veterans into focus, and the challenges they face as they come home and transition back into civilian life. This Congress recently passed bipartisan legislation, the Clay Hunt SAV Act, that will help our returning service members. This is a first step toward the great work that still remains to empower, care for, and serve those who have so selflessly served our nation.”
“Congress has a duty to honor the service of the those who wear – and wore – our country’s uniform and sacrificed so that we may enjoy the blessings of freedom”, said Congressman Perry. “Thousands of Americans have served selflessly around the world and many of them carry emotional, psychological and physical scars from their service, which raises many complicated public policy challenges, such as helping Veterans to transition to civilian life, confront mental health challenges and find employment. In recent years, Congress has passed legislation to expand Veterans’ health care options, hold the VA more accountable and improve access to mental health services. But we have much more work to do and I’m honored to join my colleague Congresswoman Gabbard to confront these challenges and do right by our Nation’s true heroes and their families.”
“Like Rep. Gabbard, Perry and so many other men and women, I had the privilege and honor of serving my country,” said Congressman Gallego. “I’ve lived through the difficult task of transitioning to civilian life and waiting a very long time to get the health care I needed from our VA system. I am proud to be a part of the Congressional Post-9/11 Veterans Caucus and I’m committed to working tirelessly to ensure that veterans have a smoother transition and that they have the resources they need to continue their education, find a job, and get the care they need for themselves and their families.”
“I am proud and honored to be joining my brothers and sisters that have served in the Armed Services in establishing this new caucus,” said Congressman Takai. “The number of veterans in Congress is at an all-time low, now more than ever, there needs to be a strong and united voice in Congress advocating on behalf of our veterans. The recent conflicts in the Middle East have produced a new generation of veterans with unique needs that must be met, and as a caucus of members that are part of this recent generation of service, we understand the challenges that lie ahead. I would like to thank Congresswoman Gabbard and Congressman Perry for taking the initiative and bringing us together. Together, as a united force we will be able to bring about positive change in the lives of our veterans.”
“As a veteran and an Air Force reservist, I am honored to join Representatives Gabbard, Perry, Takai, Moulton and Gallego in today’s launch of the Post-9/11 Veterans Caucus,” said Congressman Lieu. “No veteran in America should face a crisis of health security, homelessness, unemployment, substance abuse or post-traumatic stress. Through the Post-9/11 Veterans Caucus, Democrats and Republicans have the chance to work together to forge innovative solutions to protect and promote our veteran community.”
"As veterans, we know the sacrifices that service men and women make to keep Americans safe," said Congressman Moulton. "We also know the challenges – both emotional and economic - that many of us face. It's Congress’ responsibility to protect our veterans and provide them with the resources they need to live healthy, successful lives. I'm proud to join this bipartisan caucus of veterans working to ensure our nation’s veterans are never left behind."
The Congressional Post-9/11 Veterans Caucus is focused on empowering the most recent generation of veterans to continue their commitment to service and carry on their mission of a stronger and more prosperous America. The Caucus will strive to improve veterans’ transition to civilian life, reduce the Veterans Affairs disability claims backlog, promote education, entrepreneurship, and employment opportunities, and ensure responsive, expedient, and effective services for veterans. The Congressional Post-9/11 Veterans Caucus will join forces to better serve our newest generation of veterans.
"IAVA envisioned a caucus to represent our generation. It's very exciting to see Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard and Congressman Scott Perry make that vision a reality today." said Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) CEO and Founder Paul Rieckhoff. "After more than 13 years of Americans in combat, it is encouraging to see these members of Congress band together to tackle veterans' issues head on. As veterans themselves, they have a keen understanding of the critical challenges faced by post-9/11 veterans, service members and their families. In 2015 our country will continue to welcome home the thousands of brave men and women who wore the uniform. Ensuring quality care for these veterans should not be a partisan or political fight. We hope this caucus will bridge the military-civilian gap and provide quality solutions to veteran suicide, reforming VA, lowering veteran unemployment, protecting the New GI Bill and more."
Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard and Congressman Scott Perry, both veterans of the Iraq war, will serve as Co-Chairs of the Congressional Post-9/11 Veterans Caucus.