A few summers ago, my kids and I had the opportunity to visit the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C.  The Memorial features many quotes from our country’s heroes.  A quote from President Harry Truman, in particular, sticks out to me: “Our debt to the heroic men and valiant women in the service of our country can never be repaid.  They have earned our undying gratitude.”

In far too many cases, our Veterans Affairs (VA) system has failed to show this nation’s gratitude.  I was very troubled to learn how widespread the mismanagement, data manipulation, and subpar care within the VA was – even reaching into facilities that serve South Dakota veterans.  I have heard from many in South Dakota who have served that they are happy with their overall care, but others have told me they’ve waited months – years in extreme cases – to receive care.  That is unacceptable.

In the summer of 2014, Congress passed – and the President signed – an agreement that begins to address many of the VA’s most significant problems.  This agreement aims to improve access to and quality of health care for Veterans, expand the VA's internal capacity to provide timely care to Veterans, provide accountability for incompetent or corrupt managers, and improve education benefits for Veterans and dependents.  For more on what that agreement entails, please click here.

I have also helped pass a more efficient cost-of-living-adjustment formula for veterans (H.R.570) and supported the GI Tuition Fairness Act (H.R.357), which allows veterans to receive in-state tuition for all public universities.  I’m also proud to have supported legislation that makes it a criminal offense to fraudulently claim to have been awarded a service medal (Stolen Valor Act).

Further Reading

Noem: Too Many Veteran Lives Lost, July 14, 2017

Noem, House Send President VA Accountability Legislation, June 13, 2017

Delegation Meets with New VA Secretary David Shulkin to Discuss Future of Hot Springs Facility, May 4, 2017

With Leadership from Noem, House Backs Black Hills Cemetery Expansion, February 6, 2017

Weekly Column: Honoring Veterans and the Caregivers Supporting Them, Noveber 4, 2016

Noem Effort to Bar VA from Ending Services at Facilities Like the Hot Springs VA Hospital Passes House, May 1, 2015

Weely Column: A Veteran's Story, November 7, 2014

Hearing draws large crowd, August 19, 2014

Weekly Column: Curing the VA, June 20, 2014

Noem-Sponsored Legislation Passes House, Provides Veterans with Greater Access to Care, June 10, 2014

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