“There is no way we will sit by and let caregivers and veterans face this on their own -- not when we can make it at least a little bit easier.”
(Washington D.C.) – Today, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), a senior member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, delivered a speech on the Senate floor to introduce legislation aimed at making critical improvements to how we support our ill and injured servicemembers and veterans and their caregivers. The Military and Veteran Caregiver Services Improvement Act follows the release of a RAND Corporation report commissioned by the Elizabeth Dole Foundation that calls attention to the challenges faced by America's military and veteran caregivers. Sen. Murray was joined in the chamber by Senator Elizabeth Dole and caregivers from around the country who could be directly impacted by this legislation. Senator Murray helped lead congressional efforts to establish the original veterans caregiver benefits program and as Chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee pushed VA to stop delaying implementation of the program.
“Like so many of our men and women in uniform, our nation’s military and veteran caregivers don’t ask for much. In fact, rarely do they ask at all,” said Senator Patty Murray. “Too often these caregivers sacrifice their income, their relationships and even their own health to look after their loved one who is ill or injured as a result of serving our country. These caregivers provide a critical support system for our nation’s heroes in situations that many times mean the difference between life and death. It is our duty as a nation to not only provide those who have served with the care and services they’ve so rightly earned, but ensure those looking after them are also afforded these much-needed resources. I’m honored to introduce this legislation today as a major step in improving and expanding on the original caregiver benefits program and am so grateful for Senator Dole’s vision and commitment to this issue in calling the nation to action. I urge our colleagues to join us in this bipartisan effort to support these hidden heroes.”
"Last week we released the results of the RAND research my Foundation commissioned. The evidence-based study is the basis for our national call to action for support of America's military and veteran caregivers,” said Senator Elizabeth Dole. “Just one week later we celebrate the leadership and patriotism of Senator Patty Murray who is taking swift action on the legislative front and providing an example for bipartisan members of Congress to follow as we pursue increased, holistic support for America's hidden heroes.”
Sen. Murray's bill introduction comes one day before First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden will host former First Lady Rosalynn Carter and Senator Elizabeth Dole at the White House to discuss the findings of the RAND report, as part of their Joining Forces initiative.