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Veterans

We have no more important obligation than caring for the men and women who have served us in uniform.  I highly value my time speaking with veterans across our district at the VFWs and American Legions, the Homes for the Brave shelter in Bridgeport, or collaborating on the Veterans History Project.  

Improving Veterans’ Care

I fully support legislative efforts to fund our veterans’ health care system.  We must ensure that our veterans get the care and the benefits that they have earned. The wounds of war can run deep, and healing our veterans is the least that a grateful nation can do. 

Importantly, we must greatly reduce the shameful backlog of disability claims at the VA.  Our veterans deserve timely, high quality care.  I will continue to do whatever is needed to eliminate the backlog and restore efficiency at the VA.  

One of my earliest actions in Congress was joining a letter to President Obama urging him not to move forward with a proposal to require vets to use private insurance to pay for treatment of service-related injuries. Why should our veterans pay for the treatment of injuries they received while serving our nation in uniform?  Thankfully, after receiving that letter, the Administration decided not to pursue the policy.

Since then, I have supported legislation to improve the care that our veterans receive from the VA.  We have significantly improved and expanded health care for women veterans (1.8 million strong).  New laws have allowed the Veterans Administration to hire more healthcare providers and to establish new points of service nationwide.

A New Focus on Mental Health

Understanding and expanding mental health care services for our veterans is a high priority.  The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have taken an extraordinary toll on the mental health of our combat veterans. We must address the alarming suicide and addiction rates among our soldiers and veterans, and direct new resources to understand and treat Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). 

In 2015, I was proud to support the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act, a bill that passed the House unanimously and became law. By making it easier for our soldiers to access confidential mental health screenings with licensed professionals, we can reduce the suicide rate among our service members and make advances in the treatment of PTSD.

Putting Our Vets to Work

I believe that after all that they have sacrificed for our country, no veteran should be homeless or jobless. That’s why I supported the Veterans Economic Opportunity Act of 2013, which creates a new office at the Veterans Administration to better administer the VA’s current vocational and educational programs, as well as other social services. 

I helped pass the bipartisan Veterans Opportunity to Work Act in 2011, which gives tax breaks to businesses that hire veterans, and I am a co-sponsor of the Troop Talent Act.  The Troop Talent Act helps veterans use the valuable skills they acquired in the military in their new civilian professional life. 

Combating Homelessness, Improving Housing Assistance

Nationwide, 60,000 veterans are still living on the streets or in uncertain housing situations. My office works continuously with the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the VA to secure VA Supportive Housing, or VASH, vouchers for rental assistance and supportive care services. I supported legislation to make more veterans eligible for federal housing aid, like Section 8 rental assistance and public housing programs. I believe that veterans should receive fair access to federal housing and homeless assistance programs, which is why I supported the Homes for Heroes Act in 2013.

Meet Jim

Congressman Jim Himes is a tireless voice for common-sense, independent solutions to the challenges facing Connecticut. He's looking out for the middle class, fighting for affordable health care for all, taking on special interests like the NRA to end gun violence, and working to create economic opportunity for working families.

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