America's overseas combat operations are extremely important to our national security. I am the proud father of an Army Infantryman who was wounded in combat during his 2008 tour in Iraq. After being elected, I was fortunate to travel to Iraq and Afghanistan, to further learn from the experiences of these brave men and women. From this fact finding mission, I believe that it remains critical that Congress continue to adequately provide resources for our troops serving in harm's way. Similarly, all veterans deserve our greatest respect and thanks for their many sacrifices and honorable service. Supporting the military and our veterans will remain among my highest priorities in Congress.
Each year, I hold Veterans Outreach, which consists of a series of events designed to offer local area Veterans direct contact with and support from federal agencies through a series of informational seminars and town hall meetings in locations across the Fifth District. During the events, representatives from the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) are available to offer information for Veterans on health care benefits, readjustment benefits, continuing education, new programs, and housing assistance programs. Those who’ve served our nation with dignity have earned and deserve these services and I intend to honor this commitment by providing the best care and support possible for our Veterans.
Throughout my service in Congress I have always supported legislation that ensures our active duty service members have the tools they need to successfully defend our country. The Obama Administration reduced the size of our military and cut funding for key programs, which has left our military underfunded, undersized and underpaid. In December of 2016, I voted in favor of The National Defense Authorization Act for FY2017, which will reverse these drawdowns and provide the military with the necessary funding they need to operate at their full capacity. This bill has since been signed into Public Law and will provide service members with a 2.1 percent pay raise, improve the strength of our Armed Forces by increasing ground and aviation training standards and supports ongoing operations to fight the War on Terror and support our allies across the globe.
When our veterans return home, it is our responsibility to provide them with the best care possible. I have introduced and cosponsored numerous pieces of legislation to ensure they receive this care in a timely manner. As a former health care professional, I will always advocate for the needs of our veterans and cast my vote to improve their access to affordable and effective healthcare.
The sacrifices of our nation’s service members must never be taken for granted. One such example is SPC Ross A. McGinnis from Knox, Pennsylvania. Ross sacrificed his life to save his fellow soldiers while on patrol in Iraq in 2006. He saw an insurgent throw a grenade into his vehicle as he was manning the mounted-machine gun, and, without regard for his own life, threw his body on the grenade. Ross’s actions saved the lives of four others that day and posthumously earned him our nation’s highest military decoration, the Medal of Honor.
I was proud to introduce legislation that dedicated the Post Office in Knox, Pennsylvania as the “Specialist Ross A. McGinnis Memorial Post Office” to commemorate the life and service of SPC McGinnis. This legislation was passed by Congress and signed by the President in 2016, and in October we held the dedication ceremony. Although this action pales in comparison to Ross’s sacrifice, it will serve as a constant reminder to all who enter that service to our country and others is of the highest importance.
As your Member of Congress, I will continue to work to provide the best care and services for our service members and veterans. For more information concerning my work and legislative inititatives in this area, please click on the links below and to the right, or feel free to contact my Washington, D.C. office.
I look forward to your feedback.