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Senior Spectrum Newspaper
June 2018
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Opinion:
by U.S. Senator Dean Heller
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Nevada’s Troops Are the Best This Country Has To Offer. Let’s Show Thanks All Year

 U.S. Senator Dean Heller
U.S. Senator Dean Heller

This past month, our country paused to celebrate National Military Appreciation Month, a time to honor those who are serving in our Armed Forces, the millions of selfless men and women who answer our nation’s call to duty.

As a strong supporter of Nevada’s military service members and veterans – including those stationed at Nellis and Creech Air Force Bases and Fallon Naval Air Station – I’m proud to fight each and every day, all year long, for our troops as your U.S. Senator.

Why? Because our soldiers, sailors, airmen, Coast Guardsmen, and Marines represent the best our country has to offer.

And I know first-hand how valuable a service member’s skills are to a team. In fact, I have seven veterans on my staff.

But while it is commendable that our country recognizes our Armed Forces every May, I believe this is a duty that Congress should carry out all year long.

Recently, Congress passed, and the President signed, legislation that fully funds our military so that we can remain the world’s most lethal fighting force.

This is particularly important when our country is facing growing threats from North Korea, Syria, Iran, and other rogue countries.

The omnibus spending measure directed federal funding so that our troops can receive the very 2.4 percent pay raise – the largest raise for our troops in eight years – that was enacted earlier this year by the National Defense Authorization Act.

warriors. That’s why, in my role as a senior member of the U.S. Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, I’m working to ensure that when our service members transition home, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is ready to provide the care, support, and benefits these men and women deserve.

In fact, in 2017 alone, the President signed nine pieces of legislation that I either authored or helped introduce to help America’s veterans. I’ve championed bills into law that expands veterans’ G.I. bill benefits, boosts accountability at the VA, ensures veterans can continue to receive lifesaving treatments, funds the popular VA Choice Program, and provides mental health services to veterans with an ‘other-than-honorable’ discharge.

I’m also proud to report that as a result of my efforts, the VA recently announced that the Northern Nevada Veterans Home will receive $33.5 million to assist with the construction of this soon-to-be completed facility. Last year I fought to insert funding for this Nevada facility, and all state veterans homes, because I believe our veterans deserve a home close in their own community surrounded by their loved ones.

Additionally, I’ve taken action to combat veteran homelessness, a shameful problem in America.

Unfortunately the Great Recession – which brought about a spike in unemployment and foreclosures across the state – touched many Nevadans, including our military veterans. And I’m proud to report that I successfully secured $1.7 billion into law to help end veteran homelessness and assist at risk veterans, including $340 million for the homeless supportive services for low-income veterans and families.

Veterans Home
Dignitaries break ground for the Northern Nevada Veterans Home.

Earlier this Congress, I also reintroduced the Creating a Reliable Environment (CARE) for Veterans’ Dependents Act, bipartisan legislation to ensure that children of homeless veterans are eligible for services provided to that veteran by VA-funded facilities.

Our country must show its appreciation for America’s troops 365 days a year. That’s why I encourage all Nevadans, young and old, to show their gratitude to our service members and veterans: shake their hands, ask their stories, and show thankfulness.

Day in and day out, these men and women stand guard to defend our country and its special way of life, and for that we are forever indebted to them.