|Higgins Hosts Veterans’ Roundtable in Western New York; Discusses Promise to Nation’s Heroes|
|November 29, 2005|
Lackawanna, NY—Last night, Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-27) hosted veterans, active duty military personnel, military families and members of the general public at a Veterans’ Roundtable discussion at the Matthew Glab Post in the City of Lackawanna.
“Each November our country comes together to remember our veterans who have served and sacrificed in the name of freedom,” said Congressman Higgins. “The debt owed to them for their service is immeasurable. Without the brave efforts of all the soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines and their families, our country would not stand so boldly, shine so brightly and live so freely. We must take this opportunity to renew our efforts keep our promises to the 25 million veterans in America, and the over 60,000 veterans in the 27th district of New York not just on Veterans’ Day, but throughout the year.”
This year marks the 75th Anniversary of the establishment of the Veterans Administration, now the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The VA runs the nation’s largest health care system, providing care to almost five million veterans.
At the Veterans Roundtable, Congressman Higgins presented a report he requested from his House Government Reform Committee on the impact of the President’s budget on Veterans’ health care in New York’s 27th Congressional District. In the 27th Congressional District the VA serves approximately 23,000 veterans, while another 35,000 veterans in the district are eligible to receive care.
At his Veterans’ Roundtable, Higgins also invited those in attendance to participate in the Veterans History Project, an effort by volunteers across the United States to preserve the stories of America’s wartime veterans in a permanent collection in the Library of Congress. For more information about this project, please call Congressman Higgins’ office at 202-225-3306.
Congressman Higgins’ plan to assist and honor veterans includes:
- Cosponsor of H.R. 515, Assured Funding for Veterans Healthcare Act of 2005, which will guarantee VA funding and make it mandatory instead of discretionary so that it does not face cuts in the appropriations process each year.
- Cosponsor of H.R. 303, Concurrent Receipt, which will allow veterans to get full disability and military retiree pay without penalty.
- Cosponsor of H.R. 2131, GI Bill of Rights for the 21st Century, which will modernize and enhance the GI Bill – providing for the full cost for college or job training for those who serve four years or more of active duty. It also includes provisions to ensure an adequate number of troops and to make sure they have adequate equipment, and to provide a $1,000 bonus to the nearly 1 million who have served in imminent danger in Operation Iraqi Freedom and in Afghanistan. Finally, it recognizes the great sacrifice of our National Guard and Reserve -- by expanding military health care to cover all reservists, making sure they do not suffer a pay cut while deployed, and improving recruitment and retention incentives.
- Cosponsor of H.R. 3312, Honor Our Commitment to Veterans Act, which will allow Priority 8 veterans to enroll for VA healthcare; a benefit they were guaranteed and have now been denied.