Military Members and Veterans

Military Members and Veterans

Serving Military Members, Veterans, and Their Families

Our military is the best-trained, best-equipped fighting force in the history of the world, and we should all be proud of those who serve in our Armed Forces. But it’s deeply concerning to me that even though we spend more on our military than the next eight countries combined, 39,000 service members, veterans, and their families in San Diego County have to rely on food banks every month to get by.
 
I believe Congress needs to do more to make sure that our military budget is supporting members of our armed services and their families. There needs to be more support for families on military bases, with expanded child care and educational and career opportunities for military spouses. The children of our Armed Forces should receive a world-class education, no matter where they are.
 
Across the board, we need to do more to support our military families – from continuing what the Obama Administration’s Joining Forces initiative started by making it easier for military spouses to retain their employment credentialing across state lines as they move. And by making the transfer schedule align with the school calendar, so kids don’t have to change schools mid-school year. I’ve spoken with military families across San Diego County about how the federal government can do more for military families, such as increasing access to free or highly-subsidized child care, both on base and off, and remaining committed to extended leave policies for new parents and family caregivers.
 
I am also committed to bringing home our deported veterans. If you served this country, you should be able to live in this country.
 
And we need to end the scourge of military sexual assault, by taking the decision to prosecute outside the chain of command and providing more services to survivors.
 
The VA has struggled to modernize and keep up with the fast pace of medical innovation and the influx of patients since the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is our duty to those who have served to make significant investments in modernizing the VA –  employing enough staff and resources needed to end wait times, installing highly-skilled executive leadership, providing top-quality reproductive health care, and ensuring that mental health care and counseling are always available – while always protecting against Republican attempts to privatize the VA.
 
As a country, we invest billions of dollars training and educating members of the military to be the best in their fields. As their military service concludes, it’s both our responsibility as a country as well as an economic necessity that we take the final step to help launch millions of talented veterans into successful careers. I am a big proponent of expanding and making permanent tuition assistance programs like the post-9/11 GI Bill so that veterans can complete an advanced degree or earn a certificate that will help them transition to a new kind of job without worrying about paying the family bills.
 
And we must end the discriminatory and hateful ban on trans troops serving in the military. If you want to serve this country, you should be able to.
 
As a Member of Congress, I will help root out discriminatory practices against veterans in hiring, education, and housing; fight for more funding for effective local initiatives working to find permanent homes for veterans experiencing homelessness; and legislate against deceptive practices at for-profit colleges. For instance, I support federal legislation to make GI Bill and Department of Defense Tuition Assistance funding part of the 90/10 rule, which requires for-profit colleges to collect at least 10 percent of tuition from sources other than federal aid. This would effectively eliminate the impetus for lower budget for-profit colleges to recruit veterans in order to count more DoD-funded tuition among that 10 percent. We need to both support and protect our veterans and military families from discriminatory practices.