Veterans

Veterans in the 36th District and all across the United States have served our country honorably and deserve our unwavering support. While we can never fully repay our veterans for their service to our nation, we have an obligation to work together as Democrats and Republicans to ensure they have access to the high-quality care and receive benefits they have earned and deserve. 

I am working aggressively with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to end the VA benefits backlog, expand and improve access to health care for veterans in the 36th District, improve educational and job opportunities for heroes returning home, and combat veterans’ homelessness.

We must act now to eliminate the backlog so our veterans can access the benefits they have earned. I introduced H.R. 1759, bipartisan legislation as part of a broader effort to end the VA backlog. My bill will help identify and eliminate red tape in the VA claims process so that veterans can get their benefits faster. I also joined 3 Democratic and Republican Congressmen to introduce the 21st Century Health Care for Heroes Act, which will improve the delivery of veterans’ health care by merging the electronic health records of the Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Defense.

I voted in support the Fiscal Year 2014 Military Construction and Veterans’ Affairs legislation. This bipartisan bill continues our commitment to America’s veterans and military personnel by providing the benefits they deserve and the resources necessary to maintain a strong national defense. It takes critical steps to address the unacceptable disability claims backlog and makes key investments in veterans’ health care, including much-needed resources to convert paper medical records to electronic medical records.

I am proud to be a member of the Congressional Veterans Jobs Caucus, which is a bipartisan, bicameral group focused on reducing the unemployment rate of the nation’s nearly 800,000 veterans looking for work. This caucus is taking meaningful action to find work for our returning service members, and it’s a great example of what can be achieved when Members of Congress put partisanship aside and come together to support our nation’s veterans.

More on Veterans

June 24, 2021 Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Raul Ruiz, M.D. (CA-36) advanced his priorities to get veterans who have been exposed to burn pits and toxic exposures the benefits and care they have earned and deserve in today’s House Veterans’ Affairs Committee markup of H.R. 3967, the Honoring our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics Act of 2021, or the Honoring our PACT Act.

May 31, 2021 In The News

Four life-size bronze statues of Tuskegee Airmen now stand in front of the Palm Springs Air Museum, unveiled Monday morning to a crowd that included relatives, veterans and loved ones of those killed while serving their country.

As World War II got underway in 1941, discrimination and segregation kept African Americans out of the United States armed services. But through the efforts of civil rights activists and historic Black colleges and universities, President Franklin D. Roosevelt formed the first Black military aviator group in the U.S. Army Air Corps later that year.

May 27, 2021 In The News

The Veterans Administration would have to cover more veterans who were exposed to poisons during their service under a sweeping bill sponsored by leaders of the House of Representatives Veterans Affairs Committee. 

The bill would provide coverage for as many as 3.5 million veterans who were exposed to toxic substances. 

“We have to do more for these veterans,” said Rep. Elaine Luria, D-Norfolk, who is chair of the committee’s disability assistance subcommittee and one of the sponsors of the bill. 

May 26, 2021 Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Today, veteran advocate Jon Stewart, Congressman Raul Ruiz, M.D. (CA-36), House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Mark Takano (CA-42), Congresswoman Elaine Luria (VA-02), Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin (MI-08), 9/11 activist John Feal, and several Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs) unveiled new legislation to get veterans who have been exposed to burn pits and other toxins the health care and benefits they’ve earned and deserve.  

May 26, 2021 In The News

Congress may be on the verge of passing the most comprehensive legislation dealing with military toxic exposure issues in 30 years, potentially granting new health care and disability benefits to one out of every five living American veterans. 

Or they could be headed to another round of legislative gridlock and advocacy heartbreak in the effort to full recognition of the danger of burn pit exposure and other military contaminant hazards. 

May 7, 2021 Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. — This week, the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs held a legislative hearing on Congressman Raul Ruiz, M.D.’s (D-CA) comprehensive burn pits legislation, H.R. 2372, the Presumptive Benefits for War Fighters Exposed to Burn Pits and Other Toxins Act. The bill, which Dr. Ruiz introduced alongside Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) and Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Marco Rubio (R-FL), would streamline the process for obtaining VA benefits for burn pit and other toxic exposures.

April 27, 2021 In The News

A new bill proposed in Congress would make it so veterans dealing will illnesses related to military burn pit exposure would no longer be turned away by the Department of Veterans Affairs. 

Representatives Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) and Raul Ruiz, M.D. (D-CA) are backing the legislation that would provide those veterans with needed health care.

The VA maintains that exposure to fumes and carcinogens from these flaming trash piles have not be definitively linked to any long-term illnesses in veterans. 

April 26, 2021 Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, Congressman Raul Ruiz, M.D. (D-CA) announced the introduction of H.R. 2432, the Jennifer Kepner Healthcare for Open-air burn-Pit Exposure (HOPE) Act, legislation that would make veterans exposed to burn pits eligible for low-cost health care from the Veterans Administration. The bill is named after Cathedral City veteran Jennifer Kepner, a wife and mother who died from pancreatic cancer linked to her exposure to toxic burn pits during her military service in Iraq and Afghanistan.

April 26, 2021 In The News

The Hope Act Honors Cathedral City Veteran Jennifer Kepner, Who Passed Away From Pancreatic Cancer Linked To Her Burn Pits Exposure

Congressman Raul Ruiz, M.D. , D-CA, today announced the introduction of H.R. 2432, the Jennifer Kepner Healthcare for Open-air burn-Pit Exposure (HOPE) Act, legislation that would make veterans exposed to burn pits eligible for low-cost health care from the Veterans Administration.

April 19, 2021 Press Release

Anza, CA – Today, Congressman Raul Ruiz, M.D. (CA-36) announced that Larry Thurner, an Anza resident and veteran of the Marine Corps with a medical condition that rendered him unable to work in 1975, finally received his deserved 100% Individual Unemployability. The news comes after Congressman Ruiz’s office stepped in to resolve the issue that was pending since 1975.  

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