Congressmen Garamendi, McNerney Join VA Secretary Shinseki at Livermore VA Hospital Roundtable Discussion with Veterans
LIVERMORE, CA – Congressmen John Garamendi (D-Walnut Creek, CA) and Jerry McNerney (D-Pleasanton) today joined Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki for a tour of Livermore’s VA hospital and a roundtable discussion with veterans. Garamendi sits on the House Armed Services Committee and McNerney sits on the House Veterans Affairs Committee.
During the roundtable, veterans focused on the issues affecting the new generation of veterans returning home from conflict, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injuries, and the need for educational benefits.
"I’ve read countless reports on the issues facing our veterans, but nothing replaces listening to the firsthand reports of our returned heroes," Congressman Garamendi said. "Our first duty as a nation is to take care of our brave men and women in uniform and their families. They put everything on the line. We must make sure they every resource they need in the field and back home. I want to thank Secretary Shinseki and Congressman McNerney for putting together this important site visit and roundtable."
During the hospital tour, the Secretary and Congressmen met with doctors who use telemedicine to help patients remotely – from a clinic in Sonora for example. They also visited the hospital’s nursing home which currently houses 90 residents. At the roundtable discussion, student veterans enrolled at Las Positas College discussed the myriad of ways the New GI Bill has helped them pursue their educational goals. More than 200,000 students nationwide applied to the program this year. More information on the New GI Bill is available here: https://www.gibill.va.gov/.
Congressman Garamendi is proud to serve in a Congress that has done the most for veterans in a generation. Among the policies now law because of the Democratic Majority in Congress:
- Veterans health care and other services have seen a 70 percent increase in funding since 2007.
- The New GI Bill restores the promise of a full, four-year college education for veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan and their families. The GI Bill provides a crucial living stipend for expenses including housing, so that veterans can go to school while supporting a family. More than 200,000 students have applied this year. Some students qualify for a stipend of up to $2,700 a month.
- Businesses now receive a $2,400 tax credit to hire unemployed veterans.
- Homeownership opportunities and refinancing options are now available for returning veterans through revamped VA home loans.
- Women veterans’ services have been enhanced, including the addition of newborn care at VA hospitals for the first time.
- Homeless veterans’ services have been enhanced, including additional mental health services and $39 million in transitional housing beds.
- Additional resources are now available for post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) research and counseling.
- Troops received a pay raise of 3.5 percent in 2008 and 3.9 percent in 2009—larger than President Bush’s budget in both years. The pay raise is 3.4 percent in 2010.
For more information on Garamendi’s work on behalf of veterans and to learn about services available to veterans and their families, please visit issue/veterans.