Recent events have brought to light a great need for improvement in many areas that affect veterans and their families, including conditions in VA hospitals, mental health care programs and changes in heath care and benefits.
In the past year, I have visited VA facilities and spoken with many veterans about these issues. I am also kept informed by the staff in my district offices who work with veterans who have asked for assistance with the VA and other federal agencies.
In addition, I have conducted several interviews with veterans for the Library of Congress’ Veterans History Project. These interviews have been very inspiring to me and have deepened my respect and admiration for the men and women who are willing to sacrifice for their country.
I take seriously my commitment to support veterans and military retirees. I have supported legislation to increase funding for the VA and address the needs of veterans in regard to education, healthcare, and benefits for disabled veterans.
The Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014 was signed into law on August 7, 2014. I supported this bill, which allows veterans who are unable to secure an appointment at a VA medical facility within 30 days, or who reside more than 40 miles from the nearest VA medical facility, to receive non-VA care at the expense of the VA. The bill provides $10 billion for this program which is called the “Veterans Choice Program”. It also provides $5 billion to the VA to increase access to care through the hiring of physicians and other medical staff and by improving the VA’s physical infrastructure (specifically authorizing 27 major medical facility leases including one in San Antonio). Lastly, the bill makes it easier for the VA to fire incompetent or corrupt officials. For more information or to find out if you are eligible for the Veterans Choice Program, please visit http://www.va.gov/opa/choiceact/
The 21st Congressional District is home to many veterans, current members of the military, and their families. I will continue to work for the servicemen and women who have sacrificed so that all Americans might be free.
More on Veterans Issues
WASHINGTON – Today, Congressman Lamar Smith (TX-21) voted in support of a bill that improves the Secretary of Veterans Affairs ability to hire and retain physicians and other employees of the VA (H.R. 1367). The bill passed unanimously in the House.
WASHINGTON – Today, Congressman Lamar Smith voted in favor of two bills that support our nation’s veterans. Both passed and will go on to the Senate.
The first is the VA Accountability First of 2017 (H.R. 1259) reforms the Department of Veterans Affairs by giving more authority to the VA Secretary to hold employees accountable for poor performance or misconduct.
Washington, DC – Today Congressman Lamar Smith (TX-21) voted to provide critical funding for our national security with his support for H.R. 1301, the Department of Defense Appropriations Act of 2017. The bill passed 371-48.
The 21st Congressional District is home to Joint Base San Antonio-Ft. Sam Houston and over 60,000 active duty servicemembers, veterans and their families. Congressman Smith gave the following statement on the bill.
Washington, DC – Congressman Lamar Smith gave the following statement in response to President Trump’s Joint Address.
Rep. Smith: “The President’s address tonight was a home run. How could anyone disagree with putting Americans first?
SAN ANTONIO — Veterans — Congress wants to be your "wingman." That's what lawmakers are calling a bill they hope would make it easier for you to find out where veterans’ medical claims stand.
At the oldest VFW post in Texas, veterans share their war stories.
"I went into the Marine Corps in 1969," said Retired Marine Luis Gomez. "I was 18 years old. Never in my wildest dreams did I think, you know - I lost my hearing in my right ear in Vietnam. My heart attack's attributed to Agent Orange."
SAN ANTONIO – After years of public pressure, the Department of Veterans Affairs is releasing ratings for each of its medical centers around the country.
WASHINGTON – Today, Congressman Lamar Smith and House Republicans voted to reform the Department of Veterans Affairs by giving more authority to the VA Secretary to hold employees accountable for poor performance or misconduct. By a vote of 250-171, the VA Accountability First and Appeals Modernization Act of 2016 (H.R. 5620) passed in the House and will go on to the Senate.
Washington, DC – On Thursday, Congressman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) and a bipartisan group of Texas members of Congress sent a letter to the Department of Veterans’ Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald requesting answers and action on reports of scheduling wait time manipulation at VA facilities in Austin, San Antonio and Temple.
Boerne, Texas— Congressman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) released the following statement in observance of Veterans Day.
A bill introduced by Congressman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) to rename a stretch of highway after a Medal of Honor recipient passed the Senate by Unanimous Consent and now heads to the president’s desk to be signed into law. The bill will rename part of I-10 in Kendall County in honor of PFC Milton A. Lee who died in combat in Vietnam on April 26, 1968, at the age of 19. Lee was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor in a ceremony at the White House in 1970 for ‘conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty.’ He is buried at Ft.