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At an event for military & veteran caregivers hosted by the Elizabeth Dole Foundation, Senator Murray cheered the passage of new legislation to expand program to veterans of all eras

VA Caregiver Support Program provides resources and support to those who put their own lives on hold to care for a veteran with service-connected injuries

Senator Murray: “…when we join together to fight for things such as the Caregiver Support Program, and a stronger VA system…we begin to make good on the promise to care for you—the caregivers and veterans—long after the battles are over”

A senior member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, Senator Murray has led the fight to increase federal support for veteran caregivers and worked successfully to strengthen investments to expand VA’s Caregiver Support Program to veterans of all eras  

ICYMI: In Huge Win for Military Families, Senator Murray Applauds Passage of Sweeping Legislation to Improve Veterans’ Care, Which Includes Her Provision to Expand VA’s Caregiver Support Program – LINK

(Washington, D.C.)  – Underlining the nation’s obligation to care for our military veterans and their families after they return home, today U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), a senior member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee and the daughter of a World War II veteran, joined military veterans, caregivers, lawmakers, and other advocates to celebrate recent wins to expand VA’s Caregiver Support Program and increase federal support for veterans and their caregivers. In remarks at the U.S. Capitol, Senator Murray recognized the hard work of the veteran caregiver community to help successfully pass the VA MISSION Act, which included a provision written by Senator Murray that finally makes veterans of all eras eligible for the VA’s Caregiver Support Program, and get it signed into law earlier this year; Senator Murray also applauded the coalition’s efforts to help secure significant federal investments in the program in the spending bill passed by Congress in June. Senator Murray challenged attendees to continue pushing VA to ensure the program is implemented as Congress intended and puts the needs of veterans and their caregivers first.

A longtime champion for strengthening federal investments in caring for veterans, during her time as Chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Senator Murray oversaw the initial implementation of the Caregiver Support Program in 2011, and during the rule-making process, fought back against efforts to curtail eligibility. Given the popularity and success of the program, Senator Murray first introduced legislation in 2014 to expand the program to veterans of all eras, reintroducing the legislation in 2015 and 2017. Senator Murray has also consistently worked to hold senior VA officials accountable for implementing the program in a way that works best for veterans and their caregivers—not the least of which is creating clear, standardized eligibility requirements—and recently helped secure additional federal investments in VA’s Caregiver Support Program.

Key excerpts from Senator Murray’s remarks (as prepared for delivery):

“And what I especially love about the Caregiver Support Program is that it’s all about putting our country’s values and appreciation for our veterans into practice. It offers resources and support, training, a stipend, access to health care—the list goes on. And starting with this legislation, we’ll also begin offering legal and financial advising to help caregivers and veterans tackle some of the unique and very complex issues they face…[b]ut I want to caution, while the expansion represents an exciting new chapter, this is not case closed. So don’t get comfortable just yet—and don’t stop working to make sure every lawmaker up on the Hill hears your story and knows exactly how important this program is.”

“In the coming months and years, we must be sure the VA has the resources and guidance it needs to carry out the Caregiver Support Program successfully, and in the manner we intended – because the program absolutely must work for veterans and their caregivers, and put their needs first. It won’t be easy. Rolling out a substantive program—especially one that has so many individual and regional needs—won’t always be smooth sailing. But I believe with our shared commitment to put our veterans and their needs first, this can be done, especially because I have partners in all of you.”

“This country owes you a debt of gratitude that we can never fully repay. But I hope that when we join together to fight for things such as the Caregiver Support Program, and a stronger VA system, and so much more, we begin to make good on the promise to care for you—the caregivers and veterans—long after the battles are over.”

Full text of Senator Murray’s remarks (as prepared for delivery):

“Thank you, Steve, for that introduction—and thank you to everyone at the Dole Foundation for putting this wonderful event together.

“It is truly an honor to join you this morning to say a few words and be among the many veterans, and veteran and military caregivers, who have inspired me to fight for so many years on behalf of the Caregiver Program.

“And what a year it’s been for our efforts!

“In May, thanks in no small part to the steady leadership of Chairman Isakson and Ranking Member Tester, Congress passed legislation that included my provision to expand the Caregiver program, meaning veterans of all eras will be eligible for the VA’s caregiver support services in the coming years.

“And one month after the legislation passed, we secured a huge investment for the VA in the annual spending bill to help make that expansion a reality.

“This one-two punch—legislation and investment will do so much to help fulfill our country’s enduring promise to veterans, especially those who have suffered an injury while defending our freedoms.

“And what I especially love about the Caregiver Support Program is that it’s all about putting our country’s values and appreciation for our veterans into practice.

“It offers resources and support, training, a stipend, access to health care—the list goes on.

“And starting with this legislation, we’ll also begin offering legal and financial advising to help caregivers and veterans tackle some of the unique and very complex issues they face.

“Those are just a few of the things that our country can and should do for veterans and their caregivers.

“But I want to caution, while the expansion represents an exciting new chapter, this is not case closed.

“So don’t get comfortable just yet – and don’t stop working to make sure every lawmaker up on the Hill hears your story and knows exactly how important this program is.  

“In the coming months and years, we must be sure the VA has the resources and guidance it needs to carry out the Caregiver Support Program successfully, and in the manner we intended – because the program absolutely must work for veterans and their caregivers, and put their needs first.

“It won’t be easy.

“Rolling out a substantive program—especially one that has so many individual and regional needs—won’t always be smooth sailing.

“But I believe with our shared commitment to put our veterans and their needs first, this can be done, especially because I have partners in all of you.

“That includes the staff at the Dole Foundation, who have all done so much of the hard work behind the scenes to make the wins we celebrate today a reality.

“And of course, the founder.

“Having worked alongside Senator Elizabeth Dole for years, I can tell you, her dedication to our nation’s veterans is unmatched, and so many of the successes we’ve been able to celebrate in recent years have her fingerprints all over it.

“But of course, the true inspiration to all of our efforts is the brave men and women who served our country, and their spouses, parents, and other loved ones who may have never worn a uniform, but sacrificed nonetheless.

“And not only did you serve your country, now you’re on Capitol Hill, advocating on behalf of future generations of veterans.

“This country owes you a debt of gratitude that we can never fully repay.

“But I hope that when we join together to fight for things such as the Caregiver Support Program, and a stronger VA system, and so much more, we begin to make good on the promise to care for you—the caregivers and veterans—long after the battles are over.

“So congratulations again to everyone here on the Caregiver Support Program expansion.

“This was a team effort, and I’m so proud of what we have achieved together.

“Please know you’ll always have a partner in me.

“Thank you.”