Under President Obama, continued sequestration squashed the chances of military readiness. Air Force planes couldn’t fly. Navy ships couldn’t sail. Army troops couldn’t deploy.
Our military didn’t have the resources necessary to be prepared for growing threats. Some veterans saw unbelievably long lines at Veterans Affairs (VA) medical centers while others didn’t even have access to the quality health care they have earned and deserve.
Thankfully, there’s a new Commander-in-Chief in charge. President Trump is committed to taking care of our men and women in uniform and the veterans who have served under our nation’s flag.
Along with my colleagues in Congress, I’m dedicated to working with our president to finally give our service members and veterans the support they need and the care they deserve.
In December, President Trump signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2018 into law. This year’s NDAA delivered the biggest pay raise in eight years to our men and women in uniform.
It also included my bill, the Department of Defense (DOD) Workforce Flexibility Act, which gives installations with a civilian workforce—like the McAlester Army Ammunition Plant—flexibility when hiring employees.
Earlier this month, the President signed a budget agreement into law that fully funds our military for the rest of the fiscal year. This budget agreement is vital to the stability of our military.
When General Mattis testified in front of the House Armed Forces Committee, he told members of Congress: “No enemy in the field has done more to harm the combat readiness of our military than sequestration.”
President Trump and congressional leaders took this to heart and took immediate action to end sequestration and ensure the men and women serving our country are not disadvantaged in the field by Congress’ inability to pass a long-term budget solution.
I teamed up with Senators Inhofe and Lankford in December to pass the Enhancing Veteran Care Act, which President Trump has since made law.
Our bill increases accountability and transparency at the VA by allowing VA clinics to bring in a second opinion when evaluating medical facilities and services. Medical care our veterans receive at the VA should be equal to—or better—than care at any civilian facility. This additional oversight brings us one step closer to that goal.
In places like rural Oklahoma, veterans don’t always live near a VA medical clinic. This can make access to quality medical care difficult. The Veterans Choice Program was extended when President Trump signed the VA Choice and Quality Employment Act into law.
The program allows eligible veterans to choose their private care facility if they live more than 40 miles from the closest VA facility or experience excessive wait times. After our veterans courageously defended our freedom, they deserve the freedom to access medical care that puts their needs first.
If we want our Armed Forces to continue to be the best in the world, we have to make their needs our priority – both while they are in uniform and after they hang up their fatigues.
I’ll continue my work to invest in them so they receive the tools and resources they need to do their job well and the medical care they deserve long after they return.
Want to stay up-to-date on what I’m doing in Oklahoma and Washington on your behalf? Sign up for my newsletter by visiting Mullin.house.gov/newslettersignup.
Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.) represents the second district in the U.S. House of Representatives. He can be reached through http://mullin.house.gov, and at 3109 Azalea Park Drive, Muskogee, OK, 74401, 918-687-2533 or 202-225-2701