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

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 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.  

April 14, 2021 Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Yesterday, veteran advocate Jon Stewart, U.S. Congressmen Raul Ruiz, M.D. (CA-36) and Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01), U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Marco Rubio (R-FL), 9/11 activist John Feal, and other veterans’ advocates held a press conference announcing landmark legislation, the Presumptive Benefits for War Fighters Exposed to Burn Pits and Other Toxins Act. The bill would streamline the process for obtaining VA benefits for burn pit and other toxic exposures.

March 26, 2021 In The News

A sweeping measure was introduced in the Senate Friday that could open up health care and disability compensation to a huge swath of veterans made sick by burn pits and other toxic exposures during military service.

March 19, 2021 In The News

The lungs Bill Thompson was born with told a gruesome, harrowing and unmistakable tale to Dr. Anthony Szema when he analyzed them and found the black spots, scarring, partially combusted jet fuel and metal inside. 

The retired Army staff sergeant had suffered catastrophic lung damage from breathing incinerated waste burned in massive open-air pits and probably other irritants during his tour of duty in Iraq. 

March 9, 2021 In The News

Air Force Tech Sgt. Amie Muller deployed twice to Balad Air Base in Iraq, where burn pits were more than 10 acres in size and burned 100 to 200 tons of waste per day.

She lost a battle with pancreatic cancer and died at age 36 about 10 years after her last deployment. She is survived by her husband and three children.

March 4, 2021 In The News

Enactment would allow some 42,000 veterans with disability retirement to receive full compensation, sponsors say.

Disabled veterans would get full military entitlements, under bipartisan companion measures now pending before both houses of Congress.

If passed, the bills would end the dollar-for-dollar offset of veterans’ disability pay from military medical compensation for service members who left the service after being medically retired with less than 20 years’ service.

February 11, 2021 In The News

The House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs advanced a proposal Thursday that would allot more than $15 billion to the Department of Veterans Affairs under President Joe Biden’s coronavirus relief plan.

February 11, 2021 Press Release

Washington, D.C. – This week, Congressman Raul Ruiz, M.D. (CA-36) was appointed to the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, which conducts oversight of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and advances legislation on matters pertaining to veterans, including medical care, veterans’ hospitals, treatment compensation, education, and more. An emergency physician and public health expert, Dr. Ruiz will also continue serving on the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

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