America’s obligation to our veterans is permanent and sacred. We must leave no stone unturned to ensure that the men and women who have put themselves in harm’s way to protect and serve us have the very best medical care, counseling, housing, job training, and educational opportunities a grateful nation can provide.
That’s why I continue to support and vote for legislation to:
Immediately improve the way Veterans Affairs (VA) delivers its services to our nation's heroes:
I voted for H.R.4810, the Veterans Access to Care Act, which would require the VA to provide outside care for veterans who live more than 40 miles away from the nearest VA facility, or who have been waiting too long for an appointment.
I also supported H.R.4031, the VA Management Accountability Act, to give the Secretary of the VA the power to fire VA executives who have failed performance standards.
Eliminate the notorious claims backlog at the Department of Veteran’s Affairs by providing all the funding and resources necessary to get the job done.
Boost veterans benefits and services by at least $156 billion over the next decade.
Greatly expand services for all veterans with mental health issues.
Establish a Veterans Economic Opportunity Administration to help vets return to the workforce.
Establish a Veterans Conservation Corps to put unemployed Vets in transition back to work – rebuilding our national, state and tribal forests, parks, costal areas, wildlife refuges, and cemeteries – while they seek permanent employment.
Fully fund the National Guard, including vital training and equipment maintenance at Camp Ripley, and support the mission of the 148th Fighter Wing based in Duluth.
Grant full veterans status to National Guard members who have served 20 years or more.
In the battle to protect and serve America’s veterans, the lesson for Congress is the same one we’ve learned from all those who protect and serve our great nation. We keep fighting.
Standing up for our nation's heroes
I am currently working on several bills that would benefit veterans and their families:
Manufacturing Jobs for Veterans Act (H.R.4629) - Encourages manufacturers to hire returning veterans, and requires the Department of Labor to award $50 million in grants over the next 5 years to establish state pilot programs for job training & more.
HEALTHY Vets Act (H.R. 635) - Enables rural veterans to use local healthcare providers in their hometowns instead of travelling to the nearest big city for VA facilities.
Veterans Mental Health Accessibility Act (H.R.1725) - I am an original cosponsor of this bill, which would allow any veteran who served in a combat zone on any U.S. military operation to seek treatment for service-connected mental illness (including post-traumatic stress disorder), regardless of when the condition manifests itself. This would make services and treatment available to all veterans who have served in combat in previous military operations, such as WWII, the Korean War, and Vietnam. Additionally, this bill maintains the role of the VA to treat only service-related disorders, and allows its health care professionals to diagnose mental disorders and illnesses according to established procedures.
Veterans Backlog Reduction Act (H.R.1739) - Automatically provides provision benefits to veteran disability claims if they have not been process in 125 days.
Veterans Claims Efficiency Through Automation Act (H.R.1805) - Simplifies VA work so that claims are processed in an efficient and timely manner.
Chiropractic Care Available to All Veterans Act (H.R.921) –requires the VA to have a chiropractic physician on staff at all major VA medical facilities by 2016.
Helping Homeless Veterans Act (H.R.2485) - Revitalizes important programs that provide transitional housing, employment assistance, supportive services, and more.
21st Century Healthcare for Heroes Act (H.R.2950) - Improves efficiency between the Pentagon and the VA to reduce delays many veterans face.
SERV Act (H.R.3469) - Fights abuses in the veterans benefit system, and works to ensure that veterans are the ones getting the benefits they so rightfully deserve.
Since coming to office in January of 2013, I have voted for the following bills to benefit our nation's heroes:
Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act - provides the resources necessary to reform the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), expand its health care services to rural vets, and eliminate the unconscionable benefits backlog. The bill, which is now law, addresses concerns I heard from veterans and their families at our numerous Veterans Round Tables throughout the 8th District – especially the need to obtain medical care close to home and expand programs to treat mental illnesses, suicide prevention, and PTSD.
The Veterans Access to Care Act (H.R.4810) - requires the VA to provide outside care for veterans who live more than 40 miles away from the nearest VA facility, or who have been waiting too long for an appointment.
The Department of Veterans Affairs Management Accountability Act (H.R.4031) - a small but positive step toward addressing the widespread lack of accountability and negligence within the VA.
G.I. Tuition Fairness Act (H.R.357) - Improves veterans access to higher education by limiting tuitions, extending work-study programs, and lengthening vocational rehabilitation and training aid.
Homes for Heroes Act (H.R.384) - Ensures that veterans have access to housing and homeless assistance programs.
American Heroes COLA Act (H.R.570) - Provides annual cost-of-living increases for veterans disability and dependency and indemnity compensation.
Helping Heroes Fly Act (H.R.1344) - Improves airport security screening procedures for wounded and disabled veterans.
VA Expiring Authorities Extension Act (H.R.1402) - Works to ensure veterans continue to receive the best possible care.
Vulnerable Veterans Housing Reform Act (H.R.1742) - Amended the U.S. Housing Act of 1937 to ensure that veterans were not adversely affected.
Veterans Advisory Committee on Education Improvement Act (H.R.2011) - Reauthorizes VA committee on Education to ensure the highest quality of education and training programs for veterans and their dependents, servicepersons, reservists, and guard personnel.
To Improve the Processing of Disability Claims by the Department of Veterans Affairs (H.R.2189) - Improves veterans claims processing by providing training for claims processors, increasing departmental coordination, and mandating regular reports on the status of claims processing functions.
Veterans Economic Opportunity Act (H.R.2481) - Establishes the Veterans Economic Opportunity Administration, which provides assistance to veterans on economic issues such as vocational rehabilitation and employment programs.
Hire More Heroes Act (H.R.3474) - Incentivizes small businesses to hire more veterans.
Consolidated Appropriations Act (H.R.3547) - Increased funding for the Veterans Administration (VA) by $1.4 billion
Department of Defense Survivor Benefits Continuing Appropriations Resolution (H.J.Res.91) - Ensured that the survivors' benefits remain in place during the 2013 government shutdown.
Veterans Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act (S.893) - Increased rates of veterans disability compensation, as well as added additional compensation for dependents.
More on Veterans Issues
U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan and Rep. Tim Walz, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, today met with local military Veterans from the International Falls and Koochiching County area to discuss issues with the implementation of Veterans Choice and the future of VA Community Care.
A delegation of Minnesota's federal lawmakers is calling for a Duluth store used by Northland veterans and service members to reconsider plans to close.
Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken, along with Rep. Rick Nolan, penned a letter last week asking the Army and Air Force Exchange Service to reconsider its plans to close the discount and tax-free store, citing potential hardships for current and retired military service personnel.
U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken, along with U.S. Representative Rick Nolan, today urged the Army & Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) to reverse its decision to close the Duluth, Minnesota location in 2017.
U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan today applauded Secretary of Defense Ash Carter’s decision to order the immediate suspension of all efforts to collect reimbursement from affected National Guard members as a positive first step. Nolan also called for the unequivocal forgiveness of wrongfully-awarded bonuses given to soldiers through no fault of their own. These soldiers received a bonus while reenlisting to serve our Nation in Iraq and Afghanistan.
[WASHINGTON D.C.] U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan today urged the Secretaries of Defense and the Army to restore full funding for the Minnesota Army National Guard’s Military Funeral Honors Program. Federal law states that eligible Veterans are entitled to receive military honors at their funerals; however, the approximately $400,000 cut faced by the Minnesota Army National Guard (ANG) puts this program at significant risk.
Duluth’s Danny Haglund served a year in a combat zone aboard the USS Annapolis in the Vietnam War — service that went officially unrecognized until Tuesday, when Haglund received a quartet of overdue service medals from Rep. Rick Nolan at the congressman’s Duluth office.
Haglund joined the Navy in September 1967 and was assigned the job of boilerman. He was honorably discharged a year later.
U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken, along with Representative Rick Nolan, today announced that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has awarded a grant of $8,349,999 to establish a Minnesota State Veterans Cemetery in Duluth.
This grant will help the state provide burial service for 18,364 veterans and eligible family members.