Washington, D.C. – Yesterday, Sen. Mark Begich (AK), Chairman of the Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee, Majority Leader Harry Reid (NV), and Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders (VT) hosted a roundtable discussion with leaders from national Veterans Service Organizations. During the hour-long conversation in the United States Capitol, Senate Democrats and veterans discussed a number of issues important to the veterans community, including the disability claims backlog, educational opportunity, and recognition of veterans’ unique job skills during the transition to the civilian workforce.
“I am always pleased to meet with these groups who fight each and every day to help support our veterans when they return home from duty,” said Senator Begich. “I was especially pleased to be joined by Sergeant Brenda Lutz, a decorated veteran of the Alaska Army National Guard, who has served in several tours around the globe. Alaska is home to the highest number of veterans per capita in the country, so we know first-hand how important it is to increase access to health care, slash the disability claims backlog, and find good jobs for our veterans. While we can never truly begin to repay the debt we owe our servicemen and women, I will continue to work with my colleagues to ensure that we honor the commitment we have made to our men and women in uniform both while they are serving and when they return home to civilian life.”
Sen. Sanders added, “Ensuring the well-being of our veterans is a key priority of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. As our nation continues its economic recovery, we must ensure veterans are not left behind.”
Senate Democrats reaffirmed their commitment to veterans that they will have access to the healthcare, educational support, and job opportunities they have earned through their brave service to our country. Senators highlighted several legislative accomplishments from last congress, including The VOW To Hire Heroes Act and The Veterans Jobs Corp Act. Participants acknowledged the changing needs of the active duty and veteran communities as an increasing number of women enter combat roles. Senators and veteran leaders renewed their pledge to continue working together to address the unique challenges of military service members, veterans, and their families.
Photos from today’s meeting can be found here.
About the Senate Democratic Steering & Outreach Committee
The Senate Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee is dedicated to fostering dialogue between Senate Democrats and community leaders from across the nation. Each year, the Steering Committee hosts numerous meetings with advocates, policy experts, and elected officials to discuss key priorities and enlist their help in the development of the Democratic agenda in the Senate. The Committee serves as a liaison between Senate Democratic offices and advocacy groups and intergovernmental organizations. It is one of two Democratic Leadership Committees in the Senate. The Steering Committee is chaired by Senator Mark Begich (AK) and vice chaired by Senator Jeanne Shaheen (NH).