Celebrating a Century of DAV Service


Mr. President, Disabled American Veterans is celebrating 100 years of helping military veterans. I rise today to recognize this remarkable
occasion. Throughout its history, D-A-V has been influential in identifying ways to best support our veterans; from pushing for consolidation of veterans programs in its early years, to direct outreach to veterans in communities with the launch of the Field Service Unit program to pressing for more funding for VA health care and benefits. There has been much progress to advance veterans services thanks to D-A-V’s efforts. The organization’s members and partners
have a lot to be proud of. D-A-V members have been leading advocates for injured and ill veterans and their families, making a difference for countless wounded warriors. Their advocacy has helped and continues to build a better life for disabled veterans. We’re thankful for the more than one million D-A-V members and Auxiliary members doing great work to ensure our country keeps the promise we made to the men and women who have served in uniform. This week members of the D-A-V Department of Arkansas are visiting the nation’s capital to share the organization’s legislative
priorities for 2020. They are part of an extensive network that
has been influential in identifying how the Department of Veterans Affairs can strengthen its services. They are among D-A-V members from across the country who are in Washington, D.C. to advocate on behalf of veterans. There is simply no substitute for coming to our nation’s capital and visiting with members of Congress to let them know D-A-V’s priorities. These include strengthening veterans mental health care and suicide prevention programs, improving benefits and services for women veterans and ensuring veterans who were exposed to toxic substances receive full and timely
benefits. The good news is we are working on these priorities because we all agree that our veterans deserve nothing less than quality care and the benefits they’ve earned. Last month the Senate VA Committee advanced the Commander John Scott Hannon Veterans Mental Health Care Improvement Act. This comprehensive legislation will strengthen our ability to provide veterans with the mental health care they need and includes language I authored to leverage the services of veteran-serving non-profits and other community networks in our overall strategy to reduce veteran suicides. VA Ranking Member Senator Tester (D-MT) and I are also working to improve services to women veterans. Our Deborah Sampson Act legislation would eliminate barriers to care and services that many women veterans face and would help ensure the VA can address the needs of women, which is so critical because they are more likely
to face homelessness, unemployment and go without needed health care. We are pleased to have the support of D-A-V for this important legislation. I’m proud to cosponsor the Veterans Burn
Pits Exposure Recognition Act that would allow veterans suffering from the effects of burn pits to get the benefits and services they earned. I encourage my colleagues to support these bills so we can provide the resources promised to our veterans. For years, D-A-V members supported passage of the Blue Water Navy bill. Thanks in part to their advocacy, last year
Congress approved this critical legislation that extends benefits to more veterans exposed to toxic chemicals during the Vietnam War. The D-A-V’s attention extends beyond the
halls of Congress. It’s National Service Program helps direct
services to veterans across the country. I applaud the efforts of the more than 11
thousand D-A-V members in Arkansas whose outreach is helping veterans understand and access their benefits. They have spent countless hours advising fellow veterans about the assistance they qualify for and helping fill out the paperwork to
secure those benefits through the VA. One of the well-known services provided by D-A-V is the transportation of veterans to VA medical centers and hospitals. In rural states like Arkansas, the services
these volunteers offer is critical to meeting the health care needs of veterans. The Arkansas fleet is made up of 16 vans. Last year, more than 66 hundred veterans were driven to medical appointments with the help of volunteers who logged more than 18 thousand hours behind the wheel. I look forward to continuing working with
D-A-V members as Congress crafts and reforms policies to improve services for veterans
and their families. This country made a promise to our veterans that we must live up to and I’m proud to join with D-A-V to ensure we follow through on that commitment. Working together, we can find solutions and take action to deliver the results veterans earned and expect. We will continue looking to D-A-V to understand how we can improve the lives of men and women who served in uniform. As a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee and Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee that oversees the VA’s funding, I’ve seen the dedication of D-A-V to support disabled veterans in Arkansas and across the country. I’m proud to recognize D-A-V on its 100
years of engaging veterans and advocating to advance benefits, services and care and make a positive difference in the lives of veterans and their families.

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