All three of my brothers served in the military. I deeply appreciate the sacrifices and contributions servicemembers and their families make for our country. We owe them a true debt of gratitude.
As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, I’m committed to making sure Congress provides effective support to America’s men and women in uniform. When I joined the Committee, I asked to join the Subcommittee on Personnel so I could focus on making sure our country stands by its servicemembers and military families.
Serving those who serve: health care, housing, and economic opportunity
Our men and women in uniform are tough, smart, and resourceful. But they can face challenges returning to civilian life when they come home. They have earned our respect and they deserve our support. Every veteran should be able to rely on timely access to high quality health care, safe and affordable housing, a secure retirement, and other benefit programs.
In the Senate, I’ve fought to fully fund the VA and the TRICARE program. I’ve worked to change the rules at the Federal Housing Administration to protect low-income veterans from foreclosure, to secure millions in federal funding for organizations in Massachusetts that fight veteran homelessness, and to make sure low-income veterans receive the full military retirement benefits they have earned.
I’ve also worked to improve opportunities for veterans to find good-paying jobs and continue their contributions to their communities, including working across the aisle with Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas) to pass a law that helps make it easier for servicemembers to get their Commercial Driver’s License while still serving.
We must hold the VA accountable to ensure it does not cut corners in delivering care to our veterans. That’s why I took the lead in demanding an investigation into allegations of misconduct at the VA hospital in Bedford, and fought to secure long-overdue medical benefits for servicemembers at Westover Air Reserve Base who were exposed to Agent Orange.
We must also reject budget proposals that would break our promise to veterans by slashing the VA budget, reducing Social Security benefits for disabled veterans, and cutting billions from Medicaid, food stamps, and other programs relied on by hundreds of thousands of veterans and their families.
Protecting military families from scams
We need to protect those who serve and their loved ones from being cheated. Before I became a Senator, one of my first priorities at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) was to create an Office of Servicemember Affairs to protect military families from financial scams. That office has secured more than $130 million in refunds for military families that were cheated on their student loans, credit cards, mortgages, and other financial products.
In the Senate, it’s a top priority of mine to protect military families from predatory lenders and other unscrupulous scam artists – and I’ll work with anyone who wants to help. I fought to help nearly 80,000 military borrowers get their money back when I found out that loan servicers were failing to comply with laws protecting active-duty servicemembers who have federal student loans. I’ve worked with Senator Marco Rubio (R-Florida) and House lawmakers from both parties to introduce and pass bipartisan legislation to crack down on scams that divert resources away from low-income and older veterans who need assisted care. I also worked with Senator Thom Tillis (R-North Carolina) on a bill that would prevent predatory lenders from pushing refinance offers that are not in our veterans’ best interests. And I’ve fought for legislation that became law to restore GI benefits to veterans and servicemembers who got cheated by for-profit colleges.
Honoring those who have given the most
We must do all we can for those who have made the greatest sacrifice in defense of our country. I was glad to support the Forever GI Bill, which included my proposals to expand benefits to Purple Heart recipients who were previously ineligible and make the Yellow Ribbon educational benefit program available to families of servicemembers killed in action.
I also believe we must honor the sacrifices of the tens of thousands of servicemembers who were held as prisoners of war or who are missing in action. I worked with Senator Marco Rubio (R-Florida) and the Massachusetts chapter of Rolling Thunder to establish a memorial chair on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol to serve as a reminder: Our POW/MIA servicemembers must never be forgotten.