We have a duty to the men and women who have bravely put their lives on the line to defend our country, and we must ensure that we provide them with the assistance they need and deserve as they return home. As our troops return home, it is essential that we help them transition to civilian life and provide them with the physical, mental and financial assistance they need.
Congress has been making important strides in increasing support for our nation’s veterans. Congresswoman Matsui voted in support of the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act of 2014, H.R. 3230, which was signed into law by the President on August 7, 2014. This bill includes a number of key provisions designed to address the widespread reports of misconduct within the VA health system. The Congresswoman will continue to fight to ensure that our veterans have access to the highest quality healthcare.
Congresswoman Matsui believes that providing mental health support to our nation’s veterans is of the utmost importance. To this end, she voted to pass the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans (Clay Hunt SAV) Act, H.R. 203, which aims to prevent veteran suicide and increase access to quality mental health care to our nation’s veterans. The President signed this bill into law on February 12, 2015. In order to bolster this program, she is a co-sponsor of H.R. 2915, the Female Veteran Suicide Prevention Act, which would direct the VA to identify mental health programs that are most effective for female veterans. The Excellence in Mental Health demonstration project, created by a bill that Congresswoman Matsui authored, will enable Community Behavioral Health Clinics to provide an enhanced set of services in our communities, including behavioral health services specifically for veterans.
Congresswoman Matsui is also an advocate for expanding educational opportunities for veterans transitioning to civilian life. She’s a co-sponsor of Rep. Patrick Murphy’s (D-FL) bill, Reducing Barriers for Veterans Education Act, H.R. 456, which would provide financial assistance to veterans applying to institutions of higher education. In addition, she is a co-sponsor of Rep. Lois Frankel’s (D-FL) bill, the Veteran Education Empowerment Act, H.R. 1399, which would create a U.S. Department of Education grant program to ensure institutions of higher education have student centers for veterans.
Congresswoman Matsui understands that there is more that needs to be done in order to ensure our veterans can access the support and services they deserve. To this end, she continues to monitor a range of legislation aimed at expanding and enhancing veterans’ services and ensure that services are provided quickly and efficiently. She will remain a strong advocate for our nation’s veterans and will continue to support legislation that supports our veterans.