November 13, 2018 By:
Vice President of the United States
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Veterans have no better friend than President Trump.
This president and our administration understand that veterans’ benefits are not entitlements – they’re earned. They are the ongoing compensation for services rendered in the uniform of the United States. And since the outset of our administration, we’ve taken decisive action to make good on our promise to the heroes who’ve served.
President Trump has signed the most substantial veterans’ health-care reform in a generation, making Veterans Choice a permanent part of American law. Today our veterans have access to the real-time, world-class care they have earned, whether at a private health-care provider or the Department of Veterans Affairs.
This law will also improve the VA’s ability to recruit and retain quality health-care professionals, give veterans access to walk-in care, and expand health-care choices, including options for telehealth and mental health services.
President Trump has taken action to hold the VA accountable, signing the Veterans Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act. Since our election, more than 4,200 VA employees have been fired, suspended or demoted for negligent behavior.
We enacted the Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act, which will improve our efforts to provide retroactive benefits to America’s veterans. The VA has already identified and paid over $115 million over the last year.
We have also made historic progress towards ending veteran homelessness. Thanks to our reforms at the VA and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, nearly 54,000 veterans found permanent housing and access to supportive services last year.
And President Trump has taken steps to increase opportunities for veterans after they return to civilian life, including through enhancing and expanding the post-9/11 GI Bill to a lifetime benefit.
Our actions are having a real impact on the men and women who have sacrificed for our country: health-care wait times are down, VA accountability is up, and under our administration unemployment among veterans has reached its lowest level in nearly two decades.
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This op-ed was published on November 11, 2018.