The Second Congressional District is home to more than 56,000 veterans, including many veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. I am committed to ensuring that women and men who have served our country have access to the resources and services they need. I have held 63 public roundtables for veterans to hear directly from local veterans about how I can better serve them. And I strongly support programs to help smooth the transition to civilian life through education, job training, housing and health care.
Veterans looking for assistance with their benefits may be able to get help from my office. My staff in Everett and Bellingham work one-on-one with veterans to assist them with their benefits claims.
Click here for useful phone numbers for veterans seeking information about local resources and the VA Choice program.
- Leading the fight to overturn a ban on in vitro fertilization coverage for veterans suffering from infertility as a result of service-connected injuries. A provision to circumvent the ban was approved as part of the annual Congressional spending bills in 2017 and 2018.
- Introduced the Women Veterans and Families Health Services Act, which would permanently give veterans with service-connected infertility access to in vitro fertilization and adoption assistance.
- Spearheaded a bill to expand paid sick leave benefits made available by the Wounded Warriors Federal Leave Act of 2015 to veterans hired by the Federal Aviation Administration. The bill became law in September of 2016.
- Led efforts to renew a transportation program that veterans rely on to get to and from their health care appointments.
- Worked with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to improve access to care for veterans in Northwest Washington who face difficulty getting to appointments because of the region’s unique geography, including veterans living in South and Central Whidbey Island who must drive across Deception Pass to Mount Vernon or take a ferry to Seattle before they reach a VA doctor.
- Pushed the VA to update the Schedule for Rating Disabilities to reflect current medical standards, after a constituent highlighted a disparity.
- Began to address the urgent need to improve the quality of VA centers by voting for the Veterans’ Access to Care through Choice, Accountability and Transparency Act of 2014.
- Worked with Senator Patty Murray, the VA, and local veterans to establish a Community Based Outpatient Clinic (CBOC) in Mount Vernon, which now provides primary and specialty care, including mental health services, to veterans in Skagit County.
- Secured a federal rule to ensure that critical access hospitals, including Whidbey General Hospital, will receive increased TRICARE payments, so service members, military families and retirees continue to have access to needed medical care.
- Cosponsored legislation to expand eligibility for the family caregiver program to all veterans. Under current law, only post-9/11 veterans can participate in this program.
- Cosponsor of the Manufacturing Jobs for Veterans Act and the Putting Our Veterans Back to Work Act, to help veterans get job training and find employment.
- Fought hard to lower the unemployment rate among veterans by cosponsoring the VOW to Hire Heroes Act, which provides all veterans and departing servicemembers with robust job-skills training, and the Veteran Employment Transition Act, which provides business owners a tax credit to hire veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
- Pushed for funding to assist veterans experiencing homelessness through the Housing and Urban Development Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) program. Organizations that serve veterans in Northwest Washington have received federal funding to help 429 veterans get permanent housing.
- Sent letter to VA with other West Coast members emphasizing the importance of homelessness programs after VA proposed eliminating dedicated funding for HUD-VASH.
- Supported efforts to strengthen the GI Bill by cosponsoring the Post 9/11 GI Bill, to expand GI Bill benefits for more recent veterans, and the Payment Restoration Act to make it easier for veterans to accommodate going back to school by allowing them to take reasonable breaks between terms.
- Led efforts to allow veterans to pay for college application fees with the GI Bill.
- Cosponsored the Disabled Veterans Tax Termination Act to allow all disabled veterans to receive both retirement benefits and disability pay simultaneously.
- Cosponsored the Military Surviving Spouses Equity Act to overturn the “widows tax” which deducts Dependency and Indemnity Compensation from Survivor Benefit Plan payments.