Memorial Day is atime to remember those Americans who, in the words of Abraham Lincoln,gave "the last full measure of devotion" in defending our nation andour freedom. I'm proud to honor and recognize the accomplishments anddedication of our troops, veterans, and military families and, inparticular those who selflessly have given their lives in defense ofour nation's freedom and the brave men and women now serving inuniform.
The best way tohonor those who serve our nation is to ensure that when we send troopsinto harm's way, they are deployed with purpose and in a way thatvalues their devotion to service. And we must do all we can to ensurethey have the best equipment and materials to succeed and to returnhome safely to their families.
The focus of the111th Congress has been on restoring military readiness, responsiblyending the war in Iraq, and refocusing the fight against terrorism inAfghanistan. Congress is also working to "Keep America's Promise toMilitary Families" - by shining a light on and addressing many of theunique challenges and opportunities facing the nearly 3 millionMilitary and Reservist families. This effort will build on the measuresthat were enacted for military families in the 110th Congress.
New GI Bill
The New GI Billrestores the promise of a full, four-year college education for Iraqand Afghanistan veterans, making them part of the economic recovery,just like the veterans of WWII. This measure is scheduled to takeeffect on August 1st, and on May 1st, veterans began to apply for acertificate of eligibility at the VA website http://www.gibill.va.gov/.
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act
Creating jobs andimproving the quality of life for our troops and veterans is part ofour plan to get the American economy back on track. That's why weincluded the following important investments in the Recovery Act:
- Rebuilding andrenovating VA and military hospitals to prevent another WalterReed-like scandal, and reducing the backlog of veterans waiting toaccess earned benefits.
- Giving businesses tax credits for hiring unemployed veterans, andproviding disabled veterans a payment of $250 to help make ends meetduring this economic crisis.
- Helping military homeowners harmed by the housing crisis.
- Building new transition centers for wounded warriors returning fromcombat, more military child care centers, and better barracks andmilitary family housing.
- Renovating DOD facilities and making them more energy efficient.
As always, I rely on and value your thoughts and ideas on the issues you care about, so please let me hear from you.
Anna G. Eshoo
Member of Congress