My father was a decorated World War II veteran and Purple Heart recipient, which is why I am so passionate about ensuring veterans have access to timely and quality care, as well as protecting taxpayer dollars from waste at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). I’m proud to sit on the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee (SVAC), where I advocate for the nearly 400,000 veterans in Alabama and millions more across the country.

Veterans have sacrificed so much to protect our country, and they deserve to be treated with the utmost dignity and respect.

As a member of SVAC, I’m focused on identifying targeted and meaningful changes that can be made to how the VA delivers benefits and care to America’s veterans and service members. This includes not only physical, but mental health needs as well. It is important to increase oversight of the VA to ensure that resources are used judiciously so that veterans receive the high-quality and specialized care, support, and job-training they need to lead successful lives as civilians.

Taking Care of Our Veterans

Seemingly small changes to how the VA delivers care and benefits can make a big difference to veterans and their families. I introduced the Supporting Families of the Fallen Act, which Congress passed and President Biden signed into law, to increase servicemembers’ and veterans’ life insurance maximum coverage amounts. I’m proud my first piece of legislation to be signed into law is one that will help the families of those who defend our country.

  • The Supporting Families of the Fallen Actprovided the first increase of maximum coverage amounts under the VA’s Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance and Veterans’ Group Life Insurance since 2005 — updating the amount from $400,000 to $500,000.
  • Numerous groups have praised the legislation including the Military Officers Association of America and Wounded Warrior Project.
  • It was signed into law by President Biden on October 17, 2022.

Streamlining Benefits

My office is committed to identifying targeted and meaningful improvements to the VA. I introduced a bill to streamline post-9/11 GI bill benefits, which Congress passed and President Biden signed into law.

  • The Strengthening and Amplifying Vaccination Efforts to Locally Immunize all Veterans and Every Spouse (SAVE LIVES) Act provides no-cost COVID-19 vaccination to all veterans, veteran spouses, caregivers, and Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs recipients at VA facilities.
  • The SAVE LIVES Act also instructs the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to adjust vaccine allocation based on this increased accessibility and demand.

Expanding Opportunities

In 2022, veteran unemployment reached its lowest point in three years at three percent. But we can — and must — continue to do more to help our veterans re-enter the civilian workforce. 

  • joined the bipartisan Veteran Improvement Commercial Driver License Act to ensure veterans’ GI benefits can be utilized at licensed CDL training programs. Under current law, veterans are denied from using GI benefits for the first two years after any new secondary facility opens.
  • I’m proud to support this legislation that expands opportunities for our veterans by making it easier for them to use their well-deserved GI benefits to find good-paying, in-demand jobs.
  • The Alabama Trucking Association proudly supports this important legislation.

Being Accessible

As the son of a veteran, I’ve seen firsthand the sacrifices our veterans and their families make in service to our country. That’s why my office prioritizes getting Alabama veterans and their families the resources they need.

  • My office hosts quarterly Satellite Office Hours where my staff meets with constituents to assist them with various casework requests. Some of these events have specifically focused on serving our veterans. 
  • My team has permanent office locations across Alabama in Dothan, Hoover, Huntsville, Montgomery, and Mobile. However, we realize not every veteran lives near one of these offices. We will continue to host Satellite Office Hours in rural communities across Alabama to ensure every veteran has unfettered access to my office’s services, no matter where they live.

Fighting Misuse of VA Resources

Our veterans deserve the best healthcare available, without having to endure long wait times or travel hundreds of miles to see a doctor. I am committed to ensuring the VA adheres to their mission of providing timely and quality care to veterans, and not catering to a political agenda.

  • After reports surfaced indicating that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is leveraging the VA’s established claims processing system to facilitate health care services to illegal aliens in ICE detention, I pressed top VA officials about these reports and stressed the importance of ensuring veterans, not illegal immigrants, receive the benefits of the taxpayer-funded VA health care system.
  • I took action by introducing the No Resources for Illegal Aliens Act to stop all VA resources from being used to provide taxpayer-funded healthcare to illegal aliens.
  • In violation of current law, the Biden administration’s VA announced it would begin facilitating abortions for veterans and their dependents through the taxpayer-funded VA health care system. Despite multiple congressional inquiries regarding the legality of such a change, the VA implemented the regulation. 
  • I introduced the VA Abortion Transparency Act to impose new abortion reporting requirements on the VA to create more transparency for taxpayers. 
  • I wrote an op-ed about the politicization of the VA under President Biden. 
  • I also joined a letter to the VA demanding answers following a VA Inspector General report on the payment of $11 million in unjustified bonuses to top executives at the department.
    • “Congress worked in good faith with the Department to provide for the necessary resources to recruit and retain employees with high-demand skills or skills that are in short supply. The brazen entitlement by senior executives appointed by this Administration shows a clear lack of judgement and selfishness and these individuals must be held accountable,” my Senate colleagues and I wrote.
    • Read our full letter here.

Pressing for Transparency

I am fighting to create transparency for taxpayers and accountability for VA employees. Taxpayers and veterans deserve to know how their hard-earned money is being spent.