WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator, and Senate Veterans Affairs Committee member, Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) and House Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Mike Bost (R-IL) introduced legislation to stop Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) resources from being used to provide taxpayer-funded healthcare to illegal aliens. Reports indicate the Department of Homeland Security is leveraging the VA’s established claims processing system to facilitate healthcare services to illegal aliens in ICE detention. The Community Care Network was created to ensure veterans have access to healthcare without lengthy wait times or having to travel long distances. This program allows veterans to choose whether to seek care at a VA facility or in their own community. It is vital that Congress protect the integrity of this program so that veterans may continue to enjoy access to quality and timely care. Coach Tuberville’s legislation would prohibit the VA from providing healthcare or engaging in claims processing for anyone unlawfully present in the United States.
“Joe Biden is putting illegal immigrants over America’s veterans,” said Coach Tuberville. “It is outrageous. Our veterans should not be forced to wait in long lines at VA medical centers and clinics to get the care they EARNED while illegal immigrants waltz across our open border and get taxpayer-funded healthcare they NEVER earned. Our veterans should have the best healthcare we can provide—and illegals who have no right to be in this country don’t deserve a dime from the taxpayer. Congress needs to pass this legislation to stop Joe Biden from robbing veterans to pay off illegals.”
“Joe Biden’s failed border policies have created a humanitarian and national security crisis. Now it appears he’s taking resources away from our veterans to facilitate healthcare for illegal migrants,” said Chairman Bost.“As a Marine, I believe any dollar taken away from a veteran is a promise broken to those who served. I’ve demanded answers from the Biden administration and been stonewalled every step of the way. Until I get the response our veterans deserve, I’ll use every available tool of my chairmanship to end this practice and put our veterans first.”
Joining Coach Tuberville and Chairman Bost in sponsoring the bill are Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Bill Hagerty (R-TN) and Steve Daines (R-MT) as well as Congressmen Keith Self (R-TX), Jack Bergman (R-MI), Scott Franklin (R-FL), and Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-IA).
Read the bill text here.
Last month, Coach Tuberville pressed a Biden VA official about reports of the VA providing healthcare services to illegal immigrants during a Senate Veterans Affairs Committee hearing.
Fighting for Veterans
This legislation builds on Coach Tuberville’s years of work to improve outcomes for America’s veterans. As the son of a highly-decorated WWII veteran and Purple Heart recipient, Coach Tuberville is passionate about improving the way our nation treats its veterans and military families. He is proud to sit on the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, where he advocates for the 400,000 veterans in Alabama and millions more across the country.
Coach Tuberville consistently works to identify targeted changes that will improve how the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) delivers care and benefits to veterans and service members.
In November, Coach Tuberville penned an op-ed announcing his support for the Restore VA Accountability Act. In the piece, Coach Tuberville explains why he is supporting the Restore VA Accountability Act of 2023 to create transparency at the VA.
During his first two years in office, Coach successfully championed two standalone bills focused on making life easier for veterans and military families. Both bills passed with bipartisan support and were signed by President Joe Biden, a rare achievement for a freshman senator in the minority party.
Coach Tuberville and U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) reintroduced the Veterans Health Care Freedom Act to give veterans more flexibility when making medical decisions and greater access to the free-market healthcare system. The bill would expand treatment options for veterans by taking the VA out of the community care referral process and creating a three-year pilot program that allows veterans to schedule necessary appointments at medical facilities in the VA’s network.
Coach Tuberville cosponsored the Veteran Improvement Commercial Driver License Act, which will cut red tape to allow more veterans to find a good-paying job and help address the trucker shortage.
Senator Tuberville has been an original cosponsor of a resolution to officially designate National Post-Traumatic Stress Awareness Month for two years.
While Congress has passed wide-sweeping comprehensive legislation in the VA healthcare space in recent years veterans on the margins — such as rural, overseas or community care veterans — still face challenges in accessing care. To fix this problem, Senator Tuberville introduced the Guaranteeing Healthcare Access to all Personnel who Served (GHAPS) Act to identify persistent gaps and craft innovative solutions to meet the unique needs of every veteran and to make certain all veterans receive quality and timely care.
The GHAPS Act would:
- Codify access standards for the Veterans Community Care Program.
- Create access standards for community care delivery to ensure veterans receive timely care in their own community.
- Direct the VA to create a strategic plan to ensure the Department is addressing continuity of care issues for veterans.
- Direct the VA to create a tele-health strategic plan to ensure the Department is deploying virtual care effectively, especially for rural veterans.
- Ensure all veterans with treatment-resistant depression have access to the necessary evidence-based care to put them on the path to recovery.
- Cut red tape for VA research so that veterans benefit from more timely research-informed care.
Securing the Border
Senator Tuberville supports common-sense policies that strengthen our border and national security like building the wall and reinstating the Migrant Protection Protocols, also known as the Remain in Mexico policy. Senator Tuberville has spoken about his concerns on the floor of the U.S. Senate and called on the Biden Administration to act.
During his three years in the United States Senate, Senator Tuberville has made multiple visits to the southern border and worked on many legislative initiatives to secure the border, including giving law enforcement the tools needed to keep our communities safe and reforming immigration law to crack down on abuse and discourage illegal immigration.
Yesterday, Coach Tuberville introduced the Border Safety and Security Act as an amendment to the SUPPORT Act, legislation to address the opioid crisis. During the markup, Coach Tuberville explained that Congress cannot begin to address the opioid crisis until the southern border is secure. Coach Tuberville originally introduced the Border and Security Act in March 2023 as part of his continued push to protect Americans by combatting the border crisis created by President Biden’s immigration policies.
Earlier this month, Coach Tuberville called on the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) to overhaul its harmful and deficient policies regarding the treatment of unaccompanied alien children in the United States.
In November, Coach cosponsored the Southern Border Transparency Act. The legislation would force the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to increase its reporting of data about illegal immigrants entering the country, in turn providing greater transparency to the American people.
In September 2023, Senator Tuberville helped introduce the Secure the Border Act of 2023, the Senate companion passed by the U.S. House of Representatives earlier this year, commonly known as H.R. 2.
In August 2023, Coach called on the Department of Defense to halt the sale of border wall construction materials after reports that the Department was moving quickly to dispose of the parts before the provisions of Wicker’s FINISH It Act could be implemented.
In July 2023, Coach introduced a joint resolution of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act to strike down President Biden’s Circumvention of Lawful Pathways rule, which funnels illegal immigrants into unlawful parole programs that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has established without Congress’ consent. This funneling effect has allowed, and encouraged, more people with weak or non-existent asylum claims to enter the U.S.
In May 2023, following the expiration of Title 42, Coach reintroduced The Empowering Law Enforcement Act, which would grant state and local law enforcement inherent immigration enforcement authority to investigate, identify, apprehend, arrest, detain, or transfer an illegal immigrant who has entered the U.S. Additionally, this legislation would provide the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary flexibility on how long a criminal alien may be detained, extending the 180-day period to ensure violent criminals are not released back into communities.
In March 2023, Senator Tuberville cosponsored the Stopping Border Surges Act to address loopholes in our immigration system that encourage vulnerable immigrant populations to take dangerous, illegal paths of entry into the United States. The legislation includes reforms that would reduce unsustainable surges of illegal immigrants, strengthen our asylum process, eliminate the incentive to send children to the border; and dampen the exploitative power of coyotes and cartels.
In 2021, Senator Tuberville introduced his first piece of legislation as U.S. Senator, which required DHS to issue notices to appear to every single person paroled or released into the U.S., after media reported on the border becoming so overrun that Customs and Border Protection officers were forced to quickly release illegal immigrants into U.S. communities with no follow up for a date in immigration court.
Senator Tommy Tuberville represents Alabama in the United States Senate and is a member of the Senate Armed Services, Agriculture, Veterans’ Affairs, and HELP Committees.