Howdy, GT. Sorry I’ve been away, life gets chaotic here and there.
So I wrote another letter to my Congressman (Rep. Duncan D. Hunter), this one regarding assistance to veterans. This is especially important to me, as my boyfriend is a Navy vet who was homeless for over a year back in the late 2000s. Today I finally got a response...that doesn’t really change my epic side-eye of the guy (nor my wish to vote his arse outta office for good). I shared it with my guy, and he said it feels like a brush-off, pointing to a few recent ‘achievements’ and little else.
So, without further ado, the reply:
Thank you for contacting me with your thoughts on homeless veterans and reforming the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. It is good to hear from you and I welcome the opportunity to respond to you on this important matter.
I really appreciate your thoughtful letter and it is sad to see veterans, such as your boyfriend, become homeless. I thank him for his service and I am glad to hear that he is back on his feet. As a veteran myself of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, I understand full well the sacrifices and hardships that our military and their families have to endure. For this reason I believe we need to ensure that our veterans receive the retirement and compensation they have been promised and that they deserve. You may be interested to know, the House of Representatives passed S. 1266, the Enhancing Veteran Care Act, which authorizes the VA to contract with non-profits to investigate wrongdoing or substandard care practices. This bill would streamline the investigation process, ensuring that veterans get timely access to the quality care they deserve. On December 20, 2017, President Trump signed this legislation into law. You may be interested to know that numerous pieces of legislation are currently being considered on reforming the VA.
Moreover, for retiring veterans, I am committed to ensuring that those coming out of the military have great jobs, and are able to lead a productive life. In the 115th Congress, you may be interested to know that the House of Representatives passed H.R. 2547, the Veterans Expanded Trucking Opportunities Act, which would allow all VA medical professionals, including advanced practice nurses and physicians assistants, to issue commercial driver certifications. In addition, the House passed H.R. 2258, the ADVANCE Act, which would extend an exemption to commercial drivers’ license driving tests to active duty members of the armed forces and reserves who have experience driving vehicles similar to commercial vehicles. I’ve undertaken similar efforts in my capacity as Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation to enable servicemembers to have an easier time transitioning to a civilian maritime career.
Finally, as you may know, Congress provides millions of dollars in support via different federal programs to supplement and expand ongoing efforts to provide shelter, food and supportive services for the nation’s hungry, homeless, and people in economic crisis. These programs also promote transitions from temporary shelter to permanent homes, while paying special attention to the unique needs of individuals with mental and physical disabilities and illness. And on the local level, the San Diego Police Department (SDPD) has established the Homeless Outreach Team (HOT) to help alleviate homeless-related issues within our community. You may be interested to know that there are also numerous pieces of legislation being considered on homelessness and homeless veterans. As Congress continues to discuss this important issue, please know I will keep your thoughts firmly in mind.
Again, thank you for contacting me. If you have any further questions or concerns please do not hesitate to contact me.