Veterans update from Rep. Jeff Denham
As a fellow veteran and your representative in Washington, I strive to ensure members of our community have their voices heard and their needs met. One way I’m able to do this is through a quarterly electronic newsletter. As a local veteran, you’ve received this one-time mailing with an opportunity to continue receiving it via email; to subscribe, visit Denham.house.gov/vets and complete the web form at the top of the page. You may also access it any time on my website or pick up a copy at your local VFW Hall. As always, it’s an honor to serve you, and I hope you find the updates provided below helpful and informative.
VA COST SAVINGS Enhancement Act
I recently introduced H.R. 5974, the VA COST SAVINGS Enhancement Act, which requires the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to implement changes in hazardous medical waste disposal that would save the department millions of dollars annually and improve care for veterans across the country. The bill requires all VA facilities install on-site medical waste treatment systems if cost savings are determined, eliminating the need to ship hazardous medical waste and allowing the VA to reallocate millions of dollars from waste transportation to new and improved care for veterans. This is the kind of common sense legislation that Congress needs to focus on, and I will continue to push here in Congress to improve care for those who answered the call to serve.
Vet to Farm Amendment in the NDAA
My Vet-to-Farm amendment recently passed the U.S. House of Representatives as part of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2019. If signed into law, this will better connect veterans who are interested in farming careers with programs that can help get them on a path towards success in agriculture by requiring the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to publish information for veterans on how they can use GI benefits towards training, education and apprenticeship programs with a farming or ranching focus. As a veteran and a farmer myself, I recognize that farming can be a natural fit for veterans looking to transition into a hands-on career, and our aging and shrinking farming population means there is a growing need for people to enter the field. This amendment is a step in the right direction, and I look forward to working with my colleagues to address major challenges faced by both our ag industry and our service men and women who choose to wear the cloth of this great nation.
America’s veterans have served our country with honor, and they deserve to be taken care of when they come home. There are about 40,000 homeless veterans in America, and while that is a 50 percent decrease from 2010 estimates, there are still far too many. I recently cosponsored H.R. 4099, the Homeless Veterans Families Act, to address a major hole in the Department of Veteran Affairs’ Grant and Per Diem (GPD) program for veteran housing assistance and ensure veterans are afforded the same family assistance as provided by other agencies. This will benefit 66 GPD grant recipients in California alone, including the Salvation Army in Modesto. As your representative and a veteran myself, I will continue to support bills such as this one that aim to lower the levels of homeless veterans in our country.
As always, if you are having an issue with the VA, the DOD or any other branch of the government and need assistance, please contact my Modesto office at (209) 579-5458. My staff and I are here to help.
Member of Congress