November 10, 2014

Udall Statement in Honor of Veterans Day

WASHINGTON - Today, U.S. Senator Tom Udall released the following statement in honor of our nation's veterans, and to commemorate Veterans Day:

"Americans throughout the country gather on Veterans Day to thank the brave men and women of our military and to recognize their service to our nation. We honor the great sacrifices of those who have risked their lives to protect our freedoms and keep us safe. We thank those who are still serving today and we pay tribute those who have given their all in defense of our country and its ideals.

"New Mexico has a long and proud tradition of military service, and when our nation has called, New Mexico has always answered. While our veterans have bravely ventured where few would tread, few truly know the burden they and their families often endure. As we honor their service, we must always remember the debt which we owe them and their families. We have solemn obligation to ensure that our veterans return home to receive the support and the benefits they have earned. Keeping our promise to our veterans is a privilege I am proud to shoulder as a United States senator.

"When our veterans come home, they should get the quality health care they have earned, and they should not have to wait for it. That is why I strongly supported the Veterans Care Act, which Congress passed this summer and the president signed into law. The law allows the VA to fire senior executives for poor performance, eliminates bonuses that incentivized the cover-up of waiting times for appointments, and will help veterans to get care outside the VA if they need it.

"Many veterans living in rural areas in New Mexico and throughout the country also face unique challenges. I have introduced a bill to provide better care for veterans in rural areas by helping with transportation, staffing, and ensuring every dollar goes as far as possible for VA community clinics. None of our veterans - including over 6 million living in rural areas - should be left behind.

"I also continue to push Congress to renew and extend the VOW to Hire Heroes Act to help veterans transition their specialized skills to civilian jobs, and renew tax credits for businesses that hire unemployed veterans, and wounded warriors in particular. We are strengthened by the skills and talents of our veterans. This policy not only helps veterans to get good jobs when they come home, but also strengthens our economy and our communities.

"As a member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Veterans Affairs, I will continue to fight for funding for veterans. Nothing I do in the Senate is more important.

"Our commitment to the men and women of our armed forces should be just as strong as their commitment to our nation. On Veterans Day, we remember the heroes among us and those who are no longer with us. We have responsibility to remember their courage and sacrifices not just today, but every day."