As a Member of Congress, hardly a day goes by when I don’t hear from a veteran who needs help cutting through the red tape at the VA.  The bureaucracy is often incredibly difficult to navigate, which leads to delays in care, and that is unacceptable. 

That’s why, this week, I’m introducing a trio of bills to improve veterans’ access to services, to enhance efficiency, and address the ongoing mental health crisis: 

The Improving Veterans Access to Congress Act would empower Members of Congress to open satellite offices within VA medical centers, giving veterans a one-stop-shop to address any issues they may be having.  I saw the success of this firsthand when I opened an office in the West Palm Beach Medical Center in 2018.  It allows Members of Congress to meet veterans where they are and when they have a problem, and I believe it should be implemented across the country.

Likewise, as someone who spent time in Walter Reed, I know that services are improved when there are active-duty servicemembers in charge.  That’s why I’m introducing the Leadership Evaluation At Department of Veterans’ Affairs (LEAD VA) Act.  By creating a pilot program where military officers run VA medical centers, Congress can determine if they are more efficient and provide better care. 

Finally, we owe it to veterans to give them the best possible care, especially when it comes to their mental health.  We are facing a suicide epidemic among the veteran population, and we need to pursue any and all policies that can help, including the Oath of Exit Act.  By asking those separating from service to take an oath to support their fellow veterans and to seek help when they need it, we can work towards ending the stigma that prevents too many from getting the care they need. 

It’s an honor to introduce these bills to support my brothers and sisters in arms.  If you, or a veteran you know, needs assistance with the VA, do not hesitate to call my office at 772-336-2877.

Watch the press conference here: