Since the founding of our nation, we have relied on the strength of the men and women who have served as courageous Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen. These millions of volunteers have answered the call of duty so that we may live in freedom. We must honor their courage, dedication, and sacrifice by providing the resources necessary to take care of our veterans who return home from battle.
I have worked to ensure that veterans in our district—and throughout the country—have the tools they need when they come home to advance their careers and build their own American Dream. In 2019, I introduced the VET TEC Expansion Act, which was subsequently enacted into law. This critical piece of legislation expands the initial VET TEC program that I authored by increasing access for our nation's veterans to non-traditional, technology-oriented education courses so they can acquire the skills they need to help them be successful after returning to civilian life. In addition, in 2017, I supported the VA Choice and Quality Employment Act. This bill allocated $2.1 billion to the Veterans Choice Program, improved hiring and staffing authorities within the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and increased the accessibility for quality health care to veterans across the country to help address the backlog and quality issues that plagued the VA. I also supported the VA MISSION Act, which was signed in 2018 to improve health care options through the Veterans Community Care Program.
We must also redouble our efforts to help our veterans that face homelessness. While vouchers administered through the VA and the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) departments exist, it is unacceptable for veterans to ever be homeless due to unnecessary staffing vacancies within the VA. After listening to input from veteran advocates, last year, I introduced the Reducing Veteran Homelessness Act, and its provisions were signed into law at the end of 2020. The bill is designed to help ensure that no veteran ever goes homeless because of Federal government staffing gaps in the Department of Housing and Urban Development – Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing Program by allowing the VA to contract out program case manager positions if the Federal government is unable to hire or retain such workers to run this program so that voucher applications can get processed and housing approved for veterans.
Congressman McCarthy delivers floor speech on the VET TEC Expansion Act and the Reducing Veteran Homelessness Act.