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Cornyn: we must clear hurdles for troops’ and veterans’ benefits

Participates in hearing of bipartisan “Commission on Care for America’s Returning Wounded Warriors” in San Antonio

From the Office of Senator John Cornyn

May 15, 2007

Government - Senator Cornyn pictureWASHINGTON—U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, delivered opening remarks at a hearing of the Commission on Care for America’s Returning Wounded Warriors in San Antonio May 4. Sen. Cornyn focused on ways to improve the delivery of health care and benefits, including reducing bureaucratic hurdles, for our military and veterans.

“We must do whatever it takes, including providing both the necessary resources and cutting bureaucratic red tape, to best provide the medical care and other benefits to those who defend our nation’s freedom,” Sen. Cornyn said. “Our nation has an obligation and duty to ensure that the men and women who are serving, and have served, in America ’s military are receiving the best treatment and benefits for themselves and their families. We cannot, and should not, tolerate anything less.”

President Bush established the bipartisan panel earlier this year to conduct a comprehensive review of care provided to America ’s wounded warriors, including active duty soldiers and veterans. It is co-chaired by former Sen. Bob Dole and former Secretary of Health and Human Services Donna Shalala.

This is the commission’s first hearing outside Washington , D.C. Its focus is on traumatic brain injury, patient rehabilitation, state veterans benefits and private sector initiatives on behalf of veterans.

“Congress must place a top priority on ensuring that our soldiers are getting access to the best care possible—and are not subjected to unnecessary, bureaucratic obstacles,” Sen. Cornyn said. “The sacrifices that our men and women in uniform make every day must not be forgotten when they take off their uniforms. No veteran should ever be left behind. The agreement between our men and women in uniform and our government does not end when a service member is wounded or becomes a veteran.”

Sen. Cornyn returned to Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio last month to thank military families and provide them with an update on his efforts to address concerns they and others have raised regarding delivery of health care.

Sen. Cornyn introduced the bipartisan Veterans’ Housing Benefits Enhancement Act of 2007 as a direct result of conversations with wounded soldiers and their families, including military wife, Christy Patton, and mother, Rosie Babin. This bill will provide tangible assistance to wounded military service members and their families, particularly burn victims.

An independent panel, the Independent Review Group, chaired by former Secretaries of the Army Jack Marsh and Togo West, released a report recently with a specific finding and recommendation that the law should be updated to meet the needs of those with unique disabilities and burn victims, as Sen. Cornyn’s legislation is intended to do. In addition, a report released by Secretary of Veterans Affairs Nicholson reinforces the importance of the specific reforms included in Sen. Cornyn’s bill.

Sen. Cornyn serves on the Armed Services, Judiciary and Budget Committees. In addition, he is Vice Chairman of the Senate Republican Conference and the Senate Select Committee on Ethics. He serves as the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee’s Immigration, Border Security and Refugees subcommittee and the Armed Services Committee’s Airland subcommittee. He served previously as Texas Attorney General, Texas Supreme Court Justice, and Bexar County District Judge.

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