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
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Throughout his tenure in Congress, Rep. Raul Ruiz, CA-36, has been a champion of all veterans, particularly wounded and disabled veterans.
Washington D.C. – On Monday, the House of Representatives passed the Wounded Veterans Recreation Act – a bill to guarantee free, lifetime national park passes for all disabled veterans to enjoy over 2,000 federal recreation sites. The legislation, introduced by Dr. Ruiz (CA-36) in the House and Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) in the Senate, ensures free national parks passes for all veterans with a service-related disability.
A congressional hearing today about burn pits went up in flames for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). A large portion of the VA’s argument was clearly aimed at stonewalling efforts to pass new health care. Additionally, they claimed there was not enough science to link specific health issues to toxic exposure. If a Veteran could not prove emphatically that their illness was caused by burn pits, the VA would not treat them.
The United States is approaching nearly 20 years of war in Iraq and Afghanistan and the Global War on Terror and 30 years since the Gulf War. But the Department of Veterans Affairs is still denying close to 80% of all burn pit related claims veterans file.
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After comedian Jon Stewart retired from television, his most prominent work was for Sept. 11 first responders, people who got sick after working in the wreckage of the World Trade Center. Now Stewart has joined a similar fight for war veterans exposed to toxic burn pits in Afghanistan and Iraq. NPR's Quil Lawrence reports.
Former Daily Show host Jon Stewart returned to Washington D.C., Tuesday to lobby Congress on behalf of veterans and the families impacted by burn pits.
Stewart compares the smoke from burn pits to the toxins released during 9/11. He is advocating for the passage of a new bill, the Presumptive Benefits for War Fighters Exposed to Burn Pits and Other Toxins Act of 2020.
What You Need To Know
Veterans advocates on Tuesday launched a new campaign for additional recognition and aid for troops exposed to toxic burn pit fumes during overseas deployments at the height of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, saying time is running out to provide real help to the victims.
Under a newly introduced bill in Congress, veterans ill from toxic exposures could have a new avenue for benefits.
Comedian and activist Jon Stewart, Capitol Hill lawmakers Rep. Raul Ruiz and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, former Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin and other advocates including Burn Pits 360, announced the introduction of the legislation on Tuesday.
Lawmakers introduced legislation Tuesday that would streamline the process for veterans to receive disability benefits for diseases that may be related to exposure to burn pits and other battlefield pollutants.
For years, American soldiers serving their country abroad were exposed to toxins from so-called burn pits.
Now, even as they celebrate a win following an approval by Congress for new health data transparency and accountability, some are concerned their illnesses make them more vulnerable to COVID-19.
“I at first kind of panicked because I was like, ‘OK, I already have lung disease,’” Army National Guard veteran Cindy Aman said.