As a former FBI Special Agent and Federal Prosecutor, I am committed to standing up for the brave men and women who have dedicated their lives to keep our communities safe.
Protecting our veterans and law enforcement should always be a bipartisan issue, and I am dedicated to working across the aisle to find solutions to the problems they are facing. We can achieve sensible police reform while simultaneously supporting our heroes serving us in law enforcement. I introduced the Defund Cities that Defund Our Police Act to make sure that our hero police officers are well-funded, not defunded. If a city chooses to defund their police, they will be choosing to defund themselves of federal assistance. I stand with our hero men and women who have dedicated their lives to keep our communities safe.
I also authored the Children of Fallen Heroes Scholarship Act to provide a boost of education aid for the children of fallen law enforcement and first responders who have died in the line of duty. This bipartisan measure has been signed into law. This legislation eliminates the expected family contribution used to determine Pell Grant eligibility for children of first responders who have died in the line of duty, providing eligible students the ability to receive up to the maximum Pell award each year.
In Congress, I have supported numerous bipartisan measures focused on taking care of our veterans.
We must strengthen our veteran’s educational benefits, which is why I supported the bipartisan The Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017. Since 1944, the GI Bill has provided veterans the opportunity to invest in themselves and their futures through access to education benefits. My father attended college on the GI Bill following his service to our country – launching his life, and putting our family on the path to success. While the world has changed since 1944, the dedication and service of our men and women in uniform remains constant. These volunteer-warriors stand ready to defend our nation in theaters around the globe. This bipartisan bill improves and extends the benefits granted to veterans and their surviving dependents through the GI Bill – helping to ease the transition from active duty to civilian life by paving the way with new career opportunities and technical education.
I have also fought and will continue to fight to ensure that our veterans get the VA health benefits and support that they deserve. That is why I was proud to support the bipartisan Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019, which was signed into law by the President. This legislation will extend disability benefits covering medical conditions associated with Agent Orange exposure to those who served on ships within 12 nautical miles of the coastlines of Vietnam. Veterans who served in Vietnam between 1962 and 1975 are presumed to have been exposed to Agent Orange if diagnosed with a medical condition associated with the herbicide. This bill will expand coverage and ensures that every veteran exposed to herbicides like Agent Orange should receive the same presumptive benefits. This bill also will allow spouses of certain veterans whose death was caused by a service-connected disability access to pension benefits.
It is also imperative that our nation’s veterans receive access to the highest quality medical testing and treatment options, including mental health. We need to know if veterans in every community have the resources they need to live happy and healthy lives and are receiving the care they have earned. Currently, the VA’s Whole Health Program is vital to mental health efforts, yet these services are not available at every facility. My bipartisan, Whole Veteran Act, will require VA to provide Congress with an analysis of the accessibility and health outcomes of each of various services at VA medical facilities (including community-based outpatient clinics, vet centers, and community living centers). This will increase access to care and increase needed accountability to ensure critical Whole Health programs—including chiropractic services, whole health group services, and holistic treatment options—are available and accessible at every VA facility for every veteran.