e-News 8/4/17

e-News 8/4/17

  • Quite a Week for Our Nation’s Veterans
  • A Navy Seal’s Perspective: Worth a Read
  • Listening Tour Continues: National Night Out Morris County!
  • Calling All High School Students Coders: 2017 App Challenge is Underway
  • Salute: Wayne Township police officer Adrian Sulejmani


Quite a Week for Our Nation’s Veterans

Last week was quite a week for our nation’s veterans!

The House started the week by approving the “Forever GI Bill” and seven other bills to improve the lives of America’s veterans and their families. At the same time, the House was working to approve legislation to continue the very valuable Choice Program while we work to create a stronger, more integrated Veterans Administration health care system.  The bipartisan agreement to extend Choice funding for six months also authorized 28 major medical facility leases and enhanced the recruitment, retention and training of the VA workforce.

This package includes provisions that double down on our investment in VA by building their capacity to hire and recruit the best providers to care for veterans. We must always ensure that veterans have access to the very best health care available, and we will continue to come together to deliver the results veterans deserve.

As I previously reported, we also passed the Appropriations Committee’s National Security package including the highest level of funding ever for veterans programs!  You can get details of the veterans portion of H.R. 3219 here.

Here’s a rundown of some of the other bills we passed to support our veterans:

S. 114: The Department of Veterans Affairs Bonus Transparency Act

S. 114 provides $2.1 billion to continue the Choice Program for six months while Congress works on other reforms to the Choice Program. It would also authorize 28 major medical facility leases and enhance the recruitment, retention and training of the VA workforce. Click here for more information.

H.R. 3218, the Forever GI Bill

Also known as the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017, the Forever GI Bill would remove time restrictions to use the GI Bill, enabling future eligible recipients to use their GI bill benefits for their entire lives, as opposed to the current 15-year timeline. You can access a fact sheet on the Forever GI Bill here.

H.R. 2772: The VA Senior Executive Accountability Act

The VA Senior Executive Accountability Act, introduced by Rep. Taylor, will improve transparency by requiring VA to inform Congress about where senior executives are being moved. Click here for more information.

H.R. 3262: Physician Assistant Employment and Education Act

The Physician Assistant Employment and Education Act, introduced by Rep. Kuster, would direct VA to carry out the Grow Our Own Directive or G.O.O.D. pilot program to provide educational assistance to certain former members of the Armed Forces with medical or military health experience for education and training as VA physician assistants. Click here for more information.

H.R. 95: Veterans’ Access to Child Care Act

The Veterans’ Access to Child Care Act, introduced by Rep. Brownley, requires VA to carry out a pilot program to assess the feasibility and advisability of providing child care services for veterans receiving mental health services and other intensive health care services. Click here for more information. 

There is no doubt that the VA faces numerous challenges in providing quality and timely access to health care and benefits.  But Congress continues to provide the funding and the reforms which will allow our new VA Secretary, Dr. David Shulkin, to continue to transform the VA into a modern 21sth Century service organization that provides for the men and women who have earned our support.

A Navy Seal’s Perspective: Worth a Read

“All the Tools of US Power” in the Saturday Wall Street Journal.  I have long held that aid, diplomacy and private investment around the globe can set conditions that allow us to avoid the use of U.S. military power.  Jake Cusack makes the case here.

Listening Tour Continues: National Night Out Morris County

It was great to attend Morris County’s award-winning National Night Out events on Tuesday.  Hosted by the Morris County Park Police and the Morris County Park Commission, this year’s county-wide ‘National Night Out,’ drew thousands of residents and visitors.  It’s a great event.  In fact, each year since 2002, the Morris County version at Mennen Sports Arena has been a National Award Winner.

National Night Out is an annual community-building campaign that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie to make our neighborhoods safer. National Night Out enhances the relationship between neighbors and law enforcement while bringing back a true sense of community.

Calling All High School Students Coders: 2017 App Challenge is Underway

Our annual “Congressional App Challenge” for high school students in the 11th Congressional district is underway!  It’s a competition aimed at encouraging students to learn how to code by creating their own applications.

Intended to highlight the value of computer science and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education, the App Challenge gives local students a national platform to display their skills as coders and engineers.  In order to flourish in the rapidly evolving technology economy, we must ensure our students are exposed to the importance of STEM education and real world applications of their knowledge.

The Congressional App Challenge will last until November 1, 2017, and is open to all U.S. high school students in New Jersey’s 11thCongressional District. Challenge participants are invited, either as individuals or as teams, to create and submit their own software application (“app”) for mobile, tablet, or other computing devices on a platform of their choice. A panel of local computer science professionals will judge the apps, and the winners in each district will have the honor of being recognized by Congress.

I look forward to viewing the submissions of students from our district and urge all students to take advantage of this exceptional opportunity.”

More information, including a full list of rules, can be found here:

Salute to Wayne Township police officer Adrian Sulejmani as he is honored by Mothers Against Drunk Driving of New Jersey for accruing the most DWI or driving while intoxicated arrests in the Township. He and other officers around the state were honored for their accomplishments in reducing drunk driving incidents during a breakfast at Rutgers New Brunswick Campus. This year, Sulejmani made 13 such arrests.  Thanks for making our community safer!

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