Weekly Newsletter: March 29th, 2015
It was another busy week up in Washington! As a reminder, please feel free to reach out any time you have questions or thoughts on anything we're working on in Congress. You can email me by clicking here.
- Supporting Veterans' Mental Health Care
- A Budget That Works for South Jersey
- A Bipartisan Fix for Medicare
- Thoughts on Afghanistan with Navy SEAL Ryan Peters
- Welcoming Home Captain Joseph Gouryeb
Supporting Veterans' Mental Health Care
As the Representative for 65,000 veterans in our district, I'm always thinking about ways we can help support the men and women who served our country. After meeting with mental health care professionals in South Jersey, I was alerted to a serious problem. Although we know that there is a growing mental health crisis among our veterans suffering from PTSD and other diseases, we haven't done enough to help. Every day, 22 veterans commit suicide, 17 of whom have never received care from the VA.
Whether that's because they can't get to the VA facilities or are hesitant to use those resources because of unfair stigma associated with mental health, that's a real problem. That's why I was pleased to introduce a bill that will give veterans the flexibility to see any health care providers inside or outside the VA system if they need help with a mental health problem. And I was pleased to partner with Democratic Congressman Beto O'Rourke from Texas on it. Read more about the Veterans' Mental Health Care Access Act here. It's a common sense fix to give veterans flexibility and choice, and one that I'm hopeful will move forward quickly.
A Budget That Works For South Jersey
This week, the House passed "A Balanced Budget for a Stronger America" – a framework for how the government will spend money in 2016. My top priority in Congress is passing policies that help create good-paying jobs and grow our economy. The budget we passed and I voted for was clearly the best option to do just that.
Other options like the President's budget called for a new round of base closures (BRAC). I've been a vocal leader in Washington against BRAC, and so my decision was easy. I cast my vote for a budget that protects South Jersey's largest employer, Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst from the threat of closure, increases military spending, balances the budget within 10 years, and cuts spending.
A Bipartisan Fix For Medicare
In a great example of bipartisan problem solving, Congress passed a permanent fix to an outdated and flawed mechanism in Medicare. I shared some thoughts in the video below.
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Thoughts on Afghanistan with Navy SEAL Ryan Peters
Newly elected Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani addressed a Joint Session of Congress on Wednesday, and I was glad to hear his commitment to Afghanistan's self-reliance, and a healthy, mutually beneficial relationship between our two countries. I also think President Obama made the right move to slow the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan, given the threat of the Islamic State in the region. I would urge continued flexibility in Afghanistan so we don't lose the important gains we've made.
Additionally, I was pleased to invite a combat veteran of Afghanistan, Hainesport resident and Navy SEAL Ryan Peters. You can read more about our visit in the Burlington County Times here.
Welcoming Home Captain Joseph Gouryeb
I was in Washington on Wednesday, but I'm sure it was a great sight as Cinnaminson welcomed home Army Captain Joseph Gouryeb from his service in Afghanistan, where he earned a Bronze Star. Captain Gouryeb has two Bronze Stars and two Army Medals of Commendation. I was glad to be able to honor him with a submission to the Congressional Record, which you can read here.
Meeting with MOAA
I had a great meeting with the NJ Lakes and Pines Chapter of the Military Officers Association of America last week. Always great to discuss how we can help retired military officers and their families.