Will Reps. Raul Ruiz, M.D., and Mark Takano Team Up to Make a Difference for Veterans? [Opinion]
Congress can do so much to make a difference for Veterans in America. The House committee on Veterans’ Affairs has worked for the most part in bipartisan fashion to serve Veterans and their families.
California is home to the largest concentration of military veterans. It is also the home of the most active duty military troops in the USA.
So, it was welcome news that Dr. Raul Ruiz is joining Mark Takano on the House Committee for Veterans’ Affairs. They could be the “New Dynamic Duo.”
This gives Riverside County two members on this important committee in the House of Representatives.
Ruiz has shown great interest in the health of Veterans exposed to burn pits and his legislation was signed into law by former President Trump. Evidence of bipartisanship that is seldom reported
America’s Veterans come predominantly from our middle-class and working families. With health care costs continuing to climb, perhaps access to quality health care for all veterans of World War II, the Cold War, Korean War, Vietnam War, Gulf War, Global War on Terror, Iraq War and the War in Afghanistan could become a reality. All who served should receive the quality of care they have earned by service to their nation. More choices for Veterans’ health care are needed outside the Veterans Administration.
When Veterans pass away, access to health care should be expanded to the surviving spouse. The nation owes a debt of gratitude to the spouses of those who serve their country. This is one way to repay them for their service to the nation, many of who served with the support of a spouse.
The children of our military Veterans also sacrificed. While their parent or parents were serving the nation they also sacrificed. Perhaps the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs will expand the use of unused G.I . Bill benefits to dependent children. Most of their parents can’t afford the cost of state universities and the Ivy League universities, such as Harvard, are out of reach.
Something else that must be addressed by this important committee is another broken promise. You see, when a service member passes away, he or she is entitled to a full honors burial. That hasn’t happened for decades.
Why? Because our military is too busy. Yes, those killed in combat are receiving full honors services. Veterans of high ranks are also given full honors. The fact that high-ranking Veterans receive this honor is commendable — but it is unjust and discriminatory. The scarifies made by Veterans is equal
Today, honors services for most Veterans are supported by military service organizations like the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign War, National Guard, and locally The Memorial Honor Detail lead by Marine Daniel Smith lll and 500 volunteers. His troops serve every day at the National Cemetery in Riverside. They are not paid, not funded, but serve their fellow Veterans out of a sense of duty and to fulfill our nation’s broken promise.
All Veterans who served in the All Volunteer Armed Services took the same oath as did our draftees. They served wherever they were sent in the United States and around the world. In war and peace they were willing to defend freedom at the risk of life. Congress should live up to its word and provide military troops for full honors services.
The House of Representatives has great powers. When it wants to do something it is more than capable of mustering the bipartisan votes it needs to pass a bill and send it to the Senate.
Let’s congratulate Dr. Ruiz for his appointment to this important committee. Let’s thank Mark Takano for his leadership on the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.
Veterans and their families should email both of these members and let them know you support improved and expanded benefits.
Voters in these two congressional districts may want to ask your local VFW, National Guard Association of the United States, American Legion Posts, or other wonderful military service organizations about legislation they are asking all members of the House to support.
Don’t forget to ask your state, county, city, or special districts to also weigh in on proposed federal laws. It can and does help to enlist support on every level. The House and Senate want to hear from you one way or another.
With 2022 around the corner your congressional delegates want to make sure they pass laws and authorize programs for America’s Veterans. It is as simple as this. They want your vote and they know Veterans vote.
Again, congratulations to Dr. Ruiz for this appointment. Let’s hope he continues to author laws that benefit every Veteran of all creeds, colors, and genders.
- Raul Ruiz: Raul Ruiz
- Veterans’-affairs: Shutterstock