Happy Veterans Day to the brave men and women who have served the United States of America.
When I began my term in Congress this year, I was disturbed to learn how poorly Michigan ranks in the receipt of military benefits for our veterans. Our country must do better by those who fought to protect us — and I’m fighting to improve the situation for Michigan veterans.
I’ve introduced several pieces of legislation to strengthen how our nation supports those who defended us.
H.R. 1843 would direct the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to establish a pilot program to improve access to supportive services and community coordination for families of disabled veterans. This program would assist those disabled veterans and their families who desperately need critical care, but lack adequate access to the VA and other wellness services.
The Caregivers Expansion and Improvement Act, H.R. 1899, would extend to all veterans with a serious service-related injury the eligibility to participate in the Department of Veterans Affairs program of comprehensive assistance to the family caregivers of those veterans. Currently, veteran eligibility is more limited.
The Enlisted Legal Assistance Act, H.R. 3976, would provide for legal assistance for a broader segment of those currently enlisted in the Armed Forces and their families, as well as the families of those who died in service to our country.
Further, I’ve co-sponsored the Veterans Small Business Tax Credit Act to boost veterans’ ability to start their own businesses. I’ve collaborated on this piece of legislation with my colleagues on the Small Business Committee.
I’ve also put my team to work, connecting the veterans in our district with the benefits and opportunities that they rightfully earned with their service.
It was so moving to make a difference in the life of a Michigan veteran recently, who had been struggling for some time — but wasn’t aware they should have been receiving benefits for years until we got them the resources they earned. To be able to help them was amazing. I don’t want any of our veterans to needlessly suffer.
To raise greater awareness of the opportunities for our brave men and women who wore our nation’s uniform, I held a veterans’ resource fair in our district. It has also been an honor to participate in the Detroit Veterans Day Parade this past weekend, as well as Veterans Day ceremonies throughout our district this week — including in Southfield, which also commemorated the 240th anniversary of the United States Marine Corps.
There is much work to be done to do right by our veterans, but I am driven to keep fighting for them.
Please take a moment today — and every day — to express our nation’s gratitude to the veterans in your life.
Congresswoman Brenda L. Lawrence
Michigan’s 14th Congressional District