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Congresswoman Suzan DelBene

Representing the 1st District of Washington


Veterans Photo

As a nation, we have an obligation to care for those who have risked their lives and made painful sacrifices for our families and our freedoms. I am committed to working with my colleagues in Congress to ensure all our veterans are receiving the support and benefits that they deserve and have earned. We will not find solutions to our fiscal challenges by chipping away at the benefits promised to these brave men and women.

One of our top priorities must be providing veterans with the best possible medical care. Like many Americans, I was appalled by revelations in 2014 that Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) officials manipulated records at healthcare facilities across the country to conceal or falsify long wait times. In the 113th Congress, I supported the passage of legislation (Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act) that allows veterans facing long wait times or geographic barriers to care through the VA to immediately obtain medical services through non-VA providers. It also addresses long-term capacity issues by authorizing the VA to hire more providers and lease 27 new facilities, and it increases accountability by authorizing the VA Secretary to fire or demote any senior official based on their poor performance. As implementation of the new law moves forward, I will keep fighting to ensure our veterans have timely access to the care they need.

I also believe we need to promote greater access to educational opportunities and job-training programs for unemployed veterans and servicemembers transitioning back into civilian life. Across all age groups, more than 500,000 unemployed veterans are currently struggling to find work. This is unacceptable. To help veterans find long-term, good-paying jobs, I introduced the Manufacturing Jobs for Veterans Act to accelerate skills training for veterans in manufacturing career pathways and to encourage manufacturers to recruit, hire, and train our heroes. I am also a cosponsor of the Putting Our Veterans Back to Work Act, which would reauthorize and strengthen successful programs such as the Veterans Retraining Assistance Program (VRAP), provide support to veteran-owned small businesses, and create a new online portal for veterans seeking information on federal employment and job-training resources.

Among my other key priorities in Congress are:

  • Reducing the VA’s Disability Claims Backlog. After a decade of war, it is unacceptable that some veterans are being asked to wait hundreds of days for their disability claims to be handled. In 2013, I joined more than 150 of my colleagues in calling on President Obama to take direct action to end the backlog of veterans’ disability claims. In 2014, I voted to increase funding by $20 million to address the backlog by providing the VA with additional resources for digital scanning of health and benefits records, staff overtime, and centralization of the VA mail system.
  • Advancing Equality for LGBT Veterans. More than 1 million veterans who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) have served our nation, and many of these heroes continue to face unique challenges and discriminatory laws that prevent full access to VA benefits and services. That’s why I introduced the Voices for Veterans Act to add LGBT veterans to the membership and scope of the VA’s Advisory Committee on Minority Veterans, which advises the VA Secretary on the needs of minority veterans with respect to compensation, health care, rehabilitation, outreach, and other VA benefits and services.
  • Ending Veteran Homelessness. While veteran homelessness has dropped nearly 25 percent since 2010, more than 55,000 veterans still remain homeless today. To help end veteran homelessness, I have urged the House Appropriations Committee to provide robust funding for the HUD-VASH program, which helps homeless veterans become self-sufficient by combining rental assistance from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) with case management and support services from the VA. We must continue to support this life-saving program as more of our servicemembers return home.
  • Expanding Access to Care for Victims of Military Sexual Trauma. I am deeply concerned that the VA is denying access to care for too many victims of military sexual trauma (MST) due to ongoing difficulties with the reporting and documentation of sexual assault in the military. I fought to expand access to mental health services and other necessary care for victims of MST by cosponsoring the Ruth Moore Act, which passed the House in 2013, and I have repeatedly called on the Obama administration to reduce the unfair evidentiary barriers placed on MST survivors in filing disability claims. I will keep fighting to improve the lives of the thousands of veterans who have suffered from sexual assault in the military. 

More on Veterans

Jun 5, 2017 Press Release
SEATTLE – Congresswoman Suzan DelBene (WA-01) today heard from local LGBT veterans about their experiences accessing healthcare and benefits through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). When Congress returns this week, DelBene will reintroduce her bipartisan bill, the Voices for Veterans Act, to reauthorize and expand the VA’s Advisory Committee on Minority Veterans to include LGBT veterans in its membership and scope.
Apr 28, 2017 In The News
Before heading back to Washington, D.C., to address the nation’s budget, First Congressional District Rep. Suzan DelBene met with her recently formed Veterans Advisory Board to discuss issues of importance to veterans and what her office can do to make their lives easier. DelBene, members of her staff and board members discussed military sexual trauma (MST), veteran homelessness, veteran suicide and other difficulties veterans face when they leave the military, at last week’s meeting at Lake Washington Institute of Technology (LWTech) in Kirkland.
Feb 16, 2017 Press Release
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Reps. Suzan DelBene (WA-01) and Jaime Herrera Beutler (WA-03) today introduced the bipartisan Child Abuse Accountability Enhancement Act (H.R. 1103), closing a legal loophole that denies justice for some survivors of child abuse.
Feb 14, 2017 eNewsletters
Dear Friend,
Feb 13, 2017 In The News
Congresswoman Suzan DelBene visited a local Veterans Administration (VA) hospital to drop off hundreds of valentines made by First District students on Saturday. Valentines for Veterans is a program that encourages the community to recognize veterans throughout the year. Some of the valentines came from students at Moorlands Elementary in Kenmore.
Feb 12, 2017 In The News
It wasn’t a typical assignment, but Machias Elementary School sixth-grader Liv Harrison put her heart into it. “To someone special,” Liv wrote. She had decorated her pink construction-paper card with hearts and Cupid’s arrows. Benjamin Studley, a 37-year-old Navy veteran and former Machias Elementary Bobcat, was on a mission when he visited his alma mater Thursday. As Liv, her classmates and other students created cards, Studley made his rounds at the Snohomish district school. He was there as part of a Valentines for Veterans effort.
Feb 11, 2017 Press Release
BOTHELL – Congresswoman Suzan DelBene (WA-01) today visited a local VA hospital to drop off hundreds of valentines made by First District students. Valentines for Veterans is a program that encourages the community to recognize veterans throughout the year. See photos attached.
Nov 10, 2016 eNewsletters
Dear Friend,
Oct 28, 2016 In The News
For veterans, transitioning back to civilian life is not easy. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is supposed to help with this but that is not always the case. Congresswoman Suzan DelBene (WA-01) is working to help with this through a new Veterans Advisory Board she formed this year. The board, which has been in the works since around May or June, held its first meeting on Tuesday at VFW Post 2995 in Redmond.
Oct 25, 2016 Press Release
REDMOND – Congresswoman Suzan DelBene (WA-01) today held her first Veterans Advisory Board meeting to hear from local veterans about ways the federal government can better serve them.