May 16 2018
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Congressman Brian Mast (FL-18) announced today in a Facebook Live video that he will join the Veterans Affairs Committee. Rep. Mast, a 12-year Army veteran, has emerged as a leading advocate for veterans during his short time in Congress. He will also continue to serve on the Foreign Affairs Committee and the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
The announcement can be watched here:
Rep. Mast Quote: “I’m really excited to have the opportunity to serve our veterans on the Veterans Affairs Committee. Our first-of-its-kind office in the West Palm Beach VA has resulted in more than 100 new cases that we’re taking a look at to help veterans in our community, and being on this committee will give me an even better platform to advocate for my fellow veterans.”
Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Phil Roe Quote: “I am thrilled to welcome Representative Mast to the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. Brian is already a tireless advocate for veterans, and – as a veteran himself – is keenly aware of the challenges our nation’s heroes face. Representative Mast will be an excellent addition to the committee, and I look forward to working with him to reform VA.”
Prior to his election to Congress, Rep. Mast followed in his father’s footsteps by serving in the U.S. Army for more than 12 years, earning medals including The Bronze Star Medal, The Army Commendation Medal for Valor, The Purple Heart Medal, and The Defense Meritorious Service Medal. While deployed in Afghanistan, he worked as a bomb disposal expert under the elite Joint Special Operations Command. The last improvised explosive device that he found resulted in catastrophic injuries, which included the loss of both of his legs.
In Congress, Rep. Mast has emerged as a leader on veterans issues. He opened the first-ever Congressional office inside a VA facility in January. Through this office, veterans from around the area have improved access for assistance with any VA-related issues. The office is located in room 1A-366 of the West Palm Beach VA.
Since the opening of the VA office in January, many other Members of Congress have asked Rep. Mast about the process to open his office so that they can replicate the service for veterans at their local VA facilities. Unfortunately, opening the office took more than a year of navigating bureaucratic red tape. That’s why he introduced the Improving Veterans Access to Congressional Services Act to cut down on this bureaucracy by requiring the Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs to permit a Member of Congress to use a facility of the Department of Veterans Affairs for the purpose of meeting with constituents of the Member. Rep. Mast testified before the VA committee on this bill earlier today.
Rep. Mast also introduced and got signed into law The Department of Veterans Affairs Expiring Authorities Act. This bipartisan bill extended a number of expiring authorities impacting veterans’ benefits, health care, and homeless programs, including nursing home care, support services for caregivers, transportation, child care assistance, adaptive sports programs and housing and home loan services.