In honor of Veterans Day 2019, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (CA-43) attended events hosted by the Inglewood Chapter of the United States Veterans Initiative (U.S. Vets), the city of Gardena, the Rich Center for Prosperity, and the National Association of Black Veterans where she recognized the sacrifices of service members in the 43rd District, and highlighted her leadership in the 116th Congress on behalf of veterans and military families, including her efforts to address the homelessness crisis, prevent veteran suicide, strengthen consumer protections for military families, increase funding for schools serving military families, and protect access to veteran’s unemployability benefits.
“I extend my heartfelt gratitude to the millions of courageous veterans and military families in California’s 43rd District and across the country. We will forever be indebted to these brave men and women who have answered the call to serve in our nation’s military, and put their lives on the line for this country. It is shameful that in the most powerful democracy in the world, we have veterans who experience homelessness, have their G.I. benefits undermined and exploited by predatory practices, lack quality and affordable healthcare, and struggle to find jobs or educational opportunities when they return home from service. Our veterans and their families deserve the best this country has to offer, and I will never stop fighting on their behalf,” said Waters.
Waters is one of the strongest advocates for veterans and military families in the U.S. Congress. She is the architect of the legislation that created the Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA) Center for Women Veterans, a special bureau within the VA that ensures healthcare benefits and other programs for women veterans, which just celebrated its 25th anniversary. She was responsible for the creation of the Gardena Community Based Outpatient Clinic that provides primary care and mental healthcare to veterans.
Furthermore, Waters’ support for the veteran community in her district extends to her close partnerships with U.S. Vets, local chapters of the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars, her nearly 20-year-old program through the Hawthorne Veterans of Foreign Wars that provides transportation for more than 200 veterans during the Thanksgiving holiday, and direct constituent services and case work through her Los Angeles office for veterans residing in the 43rd Congressional District.
In the 116th Congress, Waters has authored several key pieces of legislation that directly benefit veterans and their families. They include:
• H.R. 1856, Ending Homelessness Act, which provides $13 billion in emergency funds and programs to end homelessness in America and meet the needs of the homeless population, including homeless veterans.
• H.R. 4182, the Women Veterans Support Act, which enhances the ability of the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Center for Women Veterans – which was created by Rep. Waters in 1993 – to serve women veterans and address the root causes of servicemember suicide in order to prevent suicide by women veterans.
• H.R. 5028, The Protecting Benefits for Disabled Veterans Act, which makes the Individual Unemployability (IU) Program at the Department of Veterans Affairs permanent by making it law, and prevents the VA from denying veterans IU benefits because of their age, classification of disability, or because they’re eligible for retirement benefits.
• H.R. 3112, the For-Profit Fraud Act, which amends the for-profit college 90/10 rule back to 85/15, and closes the loophole which incentivizes for profit colleges to prey on veterans.
• H.R. 2500, National Defense Authorization Act, that passed the House and included three of Waters’ amendments, which:
o Increase funding for schools with significant numbers of military dependent students by $10,000,000 in order to further support local educational agencies that serve military communities and families;
o Direct the Department of Defense to produce an assessment of how the Direct Employment Pilot Program, which offers job and career training and services, supported minority armed servicemembers, including outreach efforts, participation outcomes, and participation rates.; and,
o Require applicable emerging technologies procured and used by the Department of Defense to be tested for algorithmic bias and any potential discriminatory outcomes.