All American political candidates speak long and loud about their commitments to helping our veterans after they return home from war; is there anything less politically uncontroversial or a more universally popular issue? But while candidates are very good at talking the talk, they unfortunately are less devoted to walking the walk, especially on the Republican side, whose members feel that veterans healthcare is “just too expensive” and that the best solution is to privatize it and let Wall Street play financial blackjack with that money.
Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), on the other hand, has sponsored more bills fighting for the well-being of our veterans than any other legislator in the last thirty years. One of his most recent high-profile veterans’ bills include last year’s Veterans CHOICE Act in the wake of the VA scandal, a comprehensive reform bill that worked to rectify the VA’s bureaucratic inefficiencies, expand healthcare and dental access for veterans, create education and employment opportunities for their post-military lives, and expanded desperately needed reproductive health access for veterans and their spouses.
On top of that, throughout his long and storied career in the U.S. Congress, he has sponsored or co-sponsored nearly seventy bills specifically devoted to our brave veterans and improving their lives, both in and out of uniform. These men and women sacrifice their lives and limbs in the defense of our nation and so the rest of us can sleep peacefully at night; our promise to take care of them after they have served is one of our most sacred national covenants that cannot be broken. While the Republican candidates prattle on all the different ways they’d make new veterans, its progressives like Bernie Sanders who are actually showing that they appreciate the sacrifices our military men and women make and honor their service by providing for them when the wars are over.
● HR 695 (1991) Guard and Reserve Family Protection Act of 1991.
● HR 2304 (1991) To restore reductions in veterans benefits made by the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1990
● HR 1791 (1991) To restore reductions in veterans benefits made by the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1990
● HR 1964 (1995) To authorize the President to award the Medal of Honor to the unknown Vermonter who lost his life while serving in the Continental Army in the War of Independence and who has been selected by the people of Vermont to represent all Vermont unknown soldiers.
● HR 3444 (1995) To amend section 818 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1995 to repeal certain provisions and to revise certain reporting requirements relating to payment of restructuring costs under defense contracts.
● HR 3512 (1995) To amend Title 10, United States Code, to establish limitations on taxpayer-financed compensation on defense contractors.
● HR 2279 (1997) To amend Title 10, United States Code, to establish limitations on taxpayer-financed compensation on defense contractors.
● H.Amdt.289 (1997) Amendment increases funding for the National Guard Starbase program by $2 million.
● H.Con.Res.189 (1997) Revising the congressional budget for the United States Government for fiscal year 1998 with respect to the appropriate budgetary levels for Social Security and national defense for fiscal years 1999 through 2002 in order to maintain the level of administrative expenses for Social Security by taking into account anticipated inflation.
● HR 4708 (1998) Veterans Burial Benefits Act of 1998
● HR 652 (1999) Veterans Burial Benefits Act of 1999
● H.Amdt.442 to HR 2684 (1999) An amendment to specify that the House supports efforts to implement improvements in health care services for veterans in rural areas.
● HR 5231 (2002) To amend title 10, United States Code, to repeal the required offset of certain military separation benefits by the amount of disability benefits paid by the Department of Veterans Affairs.
● HR 5305 (2002) To authorize the disinterment from the Lorraine American Cemetery in St. Avold, France, of the remains of Private First Class Alfred J. Laitres, of Island Pond, Vermont, who died in combat in France on December 25, 1944, and to authorize the transfer of his remains to the custody of his next of kin.
● HR 2970 (2003) To authorize the disinterment from the Lorraine American Cemetery in St. Avold, France, of the remains of Private First Class Alfred J. Laitres, of Island Pond, Vermont, who died in combat in France on December 25, 1944, and to authorize the transfer of his remains to the custody of his next of kin.
● S.Con.Res.13 (2007) A concurrent resolution expressing the sense of Congress that the President should not initiate military action against Iran without first obtaining authorization from Congress.
● S.1326 (2007) Comprehensive Veterans Benefits Improvements Act of 2007
● S.Amdt.2664 to HR 2642 (2007) To prohibit the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, with respect to increases in dollar amounts for the payment of disability compensation and dependency and indemnity compensation, from rounding down such dollar amounts to the next lower whole dollar.
● S.Amdt.2902 to S.Amdt.2011 on HR 1585 (2007) To provide for an enhancement of the utility of the Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty of members of the Armed Forces.
● S.Amdt.2905 to S.Amdt.2011 on HR 1585 (2007) To require a pilot program on military family readiness and servicemember reintigration.
● S.Amdt.3082 to S.Amdt.2011 on HR 1585 (2007) To provide, with an offset, and additional $15,000,000 Research, Development, Test, and Evaluation, Army, for a program of research on Gulf War illnesses.
● S.Amdt.3130 to HR 3222 (2007) To increase, with an offset, the amount appropriated for Operation and Maintenance, Army National Guard, by $10,000,000.
● S.2398 (2007) Stop Outsourcing Security Act
● S.Amdt.4384 to S.Amdt.4387 on HR 3221 (2008) To provide an increase in specially adapted housing benefits for disabled veterans.
● S.821 (2009) A bill to amend Title 38, United States Code, to prohibit the Secretary of Veterans Affairs from collecting certain copayments from veterans who are catastrophically disabled, and for other purposes.
● S.820 (2009) Veterans Mobility Enhancement Act of 2009
● S.Amdt.2559 on HR 3326 (2009) To make available from Research, Development, Test, and Evaluation, Army $12,000,000 for the peer reviewed Gulf War Illness Research Program of the Army.
● S.Amdt.2601 on HR 3326 (2009) To make available from Overseas Contingency Operations $20,000,000 for outreach and reintegration services under the Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program.
● S.1753 (2009) Disabled Veteran Caregiver’s Assistance Act of 2009
● S.1752 (2009) A bill to amend Title 38, United States Code, to direct the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to provide wartime disability compensation for certain veterans with Parkinson’s Disease.
● S.1798 (2009) Automatic Reserve Component Enrollment Act of 2009
● S.3023 (2010) Stop Outsourcing Security Act
● S.Amdt.3353 to S.Amdt.3336 on HR 4213 (2010) To provide an emergency benefit of $250 to seniors, veterans, and persons with disabilities in 2010 to compensate for the lack of cost of living adjustment for such year, and for other purposes.
● S.1017 (2011) Disabled Veteran Caregiver Housing Assistance Act of 2011
● S.1428 (2011) Stop Outsourcing Security Act
● S.Amdt.3183 to S.3254 (2012) To require public availability of the database of senior Department officials seeking employment with defense contractors.
● S.Res.48 (2013) An original resolution authorizing expenditures by the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.
● S.Amdt.198 to S.Con.Res.8 (2013) To establish a deficit neutral reserve fund to protect the benefits of disabled veterans and their survivors, which may not include a chained CPI.
● S.735 (2013) Survivors Benefits Improvement Act of 2013
● S.851 (2013) Caregivers Expansion and Improvement Act of 2013
● S.825 (2013) Homeless Veterans Prevention Act of 2013
● S.852 (2013) Veterans’ Health Promotion Act of 2013
● S.893 (2013) Veterans’ Compensation Cost of LivingAdjustment Act of 2013
● S.928 (2013) Claims Processing Improvement Act of 2013
● S.927 (2013) Veterans’ Outreach Act of 2013
● S.922 (2013) Veterans’Equipped for Success Act of 2013
● S.944 (2013) Veterans’Health and Benefits Improvement Act of 2013
● S.Res.233 (2013) A resolution authorizing expenditures by Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.
● S.Res.243 (2013) A resolution authorizing expenditures by Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.
● S.1564 (2013) Protecting Those Who Protected Us Act of 2013
● S.1584 (2013) A bill to amend Title 38, United States Code, to provide replacement automobiles for certain disabled veterans and members of the Armed Forces, and for other purposes.
● S.1583 (2013) Mental Health Support for Veteran Families and Caregivers Act of 2013
● S.1581 (2013) Survivors’ of Military Sexual Assault and Domestic Abuse Act of 2013
● S.1585 (2013) A bill to amend Title 38, United States Code, to update the Service Disabled Veterans Insurance program to base premium rates on the Commissioners 2001 Standard Ordinary Mortality Table instead of the Commissioners 1941 Standard Ordinary Table of Mortality.
● S.1578 (2013) A bill to authorize the Secretary of Veterans’ Affairs to cover the costs as
sociated with the care of veterans at medical foster homes.
● S.1582 (2013) Improved Compensation for Hearing Loss Act of 2013
● S.1586 (2013) Enhanced Dental Care for Veterans Act of 2013
● S.1579 (2013) SCRA Enhancement and Improvement Act of 2013
● S.1604 (2013) Veterans’ Healthcare Eligibility Expansion and Enhancement Act of 2013
● S.Amdt.2023 to S.287 (2013) Relative to extension of authority for program of referral and counseling services for veterans at risk of homelessness who are transitioning from certain institutions.
● S.Amdt.2146 to S.1471 (2013) Relative to authority to reconsider decisions of Secretary of Veterans Affairs or Secretary of the Army to inter the remains or honor the memory of a person in a national cemetery.
● S.1950 (2014) Comprehensive Veterans Health and Benefits and Military Retirement Pay Restoration Act of 2014
● S.1982 (2014) Comprehensive Veterans Health and Benefits and Military Retirement Pay Restoration Act of 2014
● S.2413 (2014) Restoring Veterans Trust Act of 2014
● S.2422 (2014) Ensuring Veteran Access to Care Act of 2014
● S.2450 (2014) Veterans’ Access to Care through Choice, Accountability, and Transparency Act of 2014
● S.2782 (2014) A bill to amend Title 36, United States Code, to improve the Federal Charter for the Veterans’ of Foreign Wars of the United States, and for other purposes.
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.