Supporting our Veterans
Our brave men and women in uniform lay their lives on the line – often far away from their homes and families – to protect our freedoms and defend our way of life. After almost 20 years at war, our nation has had a dramatic increase in the number of new veterans, including an influx of women and former guardsmen and reservists. We must ensure that when they call on us, we are there to help. Whether it’s fighting for increased funding for veterans job training programs or dealing with the VA backlog, Gary is always looking for ways to help our servicemembers, veterans and military families who have sacrificed so much for us.
As a former Lieutenant Commander in the U.S. Navy Reserve and the son of a World War II veteran, Gary has a deep, personal commitment to keeping our promises to America’s veterans. In the Senate, Gary’s legislation was signed into law to ensure veterans who may have been less than honorable discharged from the military because of mental traumas like Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) receive fair treatment and don’t lose access to the benefits they have earned through their service. Gary also made permanent a tax credit for small businesses that provide differential pay to military reservists and National Guard members called to serve on active duty. He authored and enacted legislation to expand apprenticeships for veterans. He’s also been a leading voice in calling for the VA to extend benefits to those suffering from illnesses now linked to Agent Orange exposure, and has worked on legislation from assisting veterans exposed to toxic burn pits to establishing a simple three-digit hotline for veterans to gain assistance related to their VA benefits and other services.
Gary also passed legislation into law reforming the VA Caregiver Program, after reports that caregivers and veterans were arbitrarily discharged or downgraded from the program, with benefits subsequently revoked or reduced – often with little explanation or time to appeal the decision. This legislation will help address problems with the VA Caregiver Program by making sure veterans are treated fairly and that severely injured veterans receive the services they need.