President Obama has always deeply valued the sacrifices and struggles that our veterans endure in the line of duty, and reaffirmed his commitment to their care on Veterans’ Day by announcing a slew of new programs and legislation to combat veteran homelessness, ensure they have quick access to quality healthcare, and to provide in-state tuition rates to all veterans and their families at public colleges and universities across the nation, no matter their current state of residency.
The proposals include a promise to speed up the “broken” process of disability claims, which sometimes drag on for months. The administration is launching a new tool to “allow veterans to compare college and university options,” for which they and their families will receive in-state resident tuition rates. In addition, there will be new regulations designed to protect vets from predatory for-profit colleges. They have announced incoming changes to improve a program allowing veterans to use a private doctor at government expense if they cannot meet with a Veterans Affairs physician within the next thirty days.
President Obama’s Veterans Day press conference was also happy to announce that Virginia will be joining Connecticut in having housed all of their homeless veterans; the cities of Las Vegas (NV), Syracuse (NY), and Schenectady (NY) also join that list, but acknowledged that further effort needs to still be made to ensure that those who have sacrificed so much have something to return to.
“These pieces of legislation will really ensure that veterans have the opportunities and assistance to … realize the American dream” said an excited Cecilia Munoz, a domestic adviser to the White House. President Obama’s Veterans’ Day address proclaimed that:
Our veterans left everything they knew and loved and served with exemplary dedication and courage so we could all know a safer America and a more just world. They have been tested in ways the rest of us may never fully understand, and it is our duty to fulfill our sacred obligation to our veterans and their families. On Veterans Day, and every day, let us show them the extraordinary gratitude they so rightly deserve, and let us recommit to pledging our full support for them in all they do.
We can only hope the our Republican legislators in Congress can reach into their hearts and feel enough empathy to pass these proposals, for the betterment of the brave men and women who would have to fight the jingoistic wars of aggression proposed by GOP presidential candidates. While President does not relish having to send our men and women abroad to defend our interests, he makes sure to do all he can for them when they return. We owe our veterans a debt that can never be repaid.
Colin Taylor is the editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.