CONGRESSMAN JIM HIMES

Representing the 4th District of Connecticut

Veterans: In Depth

Government has few more sacred obligations than caring for the men and women who have served and sacrificed for our country. When you hear the stories of our veterans, you know that we owe them a debt we cannot ever repay. But we can and must try.

Improved Access to Care

I have been actively pursuing answers, calling for increased accountability, and seeking solutions to the underlying problems in order to improve the VA system. I have joined my colleagues from across the aisle to support key legislation to ensure that no veteran is turned away or denied urgent access to mental healthcare services, to treat any former member of the Armed Services in cases of mental healthcare crises, and to provide in-patient psychiatric care services at the closest VA facility that has the capability and capacity.

I supported the Expedited Hiring for VA Trained Psychiatrists Act to allow the VA to hire trained psychiatrists that have completed their residency with the Veterans Health Administration and the Wounded Warrior Service Dog Act which leverages years of scientific research on the effectiveness of service dogs to treat veterans and injured service members with PTSD.

Improved Access to Benefits

The state of the VA claims process is improving but has a long way to go. I have supported Congressional efforts, like the VA Appeals and Modernization Act to address the backlog of disability claims that has plagued the VA system, and I will continue to support the actions and resources needed to resolve this continuing issue. Veterans should not be made to wait years before an initial ratings decision is made or appeal is decided.

I continue to support legislative efforts to take care of our veterans who may have been exposed to harmful chemicals while serving overseas and to ensure that all of those who served our country receive full access to the benefits to which they are entitled.

Improved Access to Educational Opportunities

I was proud to help pass the Post 9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Improvement Act, legislation that makes it easier for veterans to use their earned educational benefits. The Post 9/11 GI Bill has helped veterans seeking training and college degrees.  The Post 9/11 GI Bill is not perfect. We are working to make necessary improvements and commonsense changes to the law to allow flexibility in the program and to make sure that it is implemented as intended by Congress.

Sharing Your Story

I encourage local veterans to participate in the Veterans History Project, a campaign organized by the Library of Congress that seeks to preserve the stories of veterans throughout the country as part of the national archive.  One way to honor and give thanks to our war veterans is to have their personal experiences recorded.  The collection of memories we have already gathered from the fourth district is priceless. If you would like to participate in the Veterans History Project, please click here

Issues: