As Americans, we should all be proud that the United States is known around the globe as the leader of the free world. Yet, it is important to remember that this title and the freedoms it represents would not be possible without the selfless service of our nation’s veterans. Each and every day, I am grateful for the courageous men and women who have sacrificed so much to protect America and our freedom.
More than 20 million Americans have answered the call to step forward and serve our country, including more than 200,000 veterans here in Louisiana. These men and women are heroes, and I am honored to have the opportunity to meet and personally thank them for their service and bravery. As a member of Congress, I pledge to never stop fighting to ensure our veterans receive the treatment they deserve.
I have been taking action to ensure that veterans have access to quality, affordable health care, and working to honor the sacrifices of our brave service members who contributed to the Allied victory in World War II.
Last year, I helped pass the VA MISSION Act, which was signed into law by President Donald Trump. This legislation gives veterans greater access to health care in VA facilities and makes improvements to how veterans receive community care.
Recently, the Veterans of Foreign Wars released results of its nationwide “Our Care” survey. VFW members across the country reported in abundance that they are seeing improvements at their local VA facilities and are recommending the VA to their fellow veterans — proving that the MISSION Act is delivering on its promises. This legislation is considered among the most significant efforts to reform the VA in recent history, and immediate action is being taken to implement the vast changes required to help our nation’s veterans.
Another priority of mine is to honor and preserve the sacrifices of our brave members of “The Greatest Generation,” as well as all the other Americans who contributed to the World War II effort. U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond and I introduced a bill recently to create a commemorative coin that will celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Allied victory in World War II. The proceeds of the coin will be used to preserve the legacy of our veterans at the National World War II Museum in New Orleans. As time moves forward, we risk losing the stories and firsthand accounts of those who directly participated in the war effort, making the mission of the National World War II Museum in New Orleans all the more urgent. According to the museum, of the 16 million American veterans who served in World War II, only 1 out of every 32 are still alive. In Louisiana, we are proud to have 5,350 of these heroes call our state home.
Although significant progress has been made, our work on behalf of our nation’s veterans is never finished. Congress must take consistent action to address remaining issues such as preventing the tragedy of veteran suicides, improving mental health services, and ensuring the VA Family Caregiver Program — a program which provides support to the selfless caregivers who care for our service members upon their return home — is working as intended. Throughout American history, the brave men and women of our armed forces have answered our nation’s call to duty and have served our country with honor. It is vitally important that Congress continue to serve our nation’s veterans with the highest honor, and provide them with the care, benefits, and recognition they deserve.
I hope you will join me not only on Veterans Day, but every day, to honor and celebrate the service and sacrifice of the brave men and women who have fought to safeguard America’s freedoms. If you are a veteran, or know someone who needs assistance with the Department of Veterans Affairs or any other federal agency, please visit Scalise.House.gov or call my office for more information at (504) 837-1259. God bless the United States of America.
U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise of Jefferson Parish is House Republican Whip.