How bipartisanship cuts through red tape for veterans
Special to Stars and Stripes October 25, 2023
Amid the spirited debates and diverse voices that echo through the halls of Congress, there is a shared commitment that transcends party divisions — our steadfast dedication to the men and women who have bravely served our nation in the military. Today, the two of us stand united in introducing the Veterans Caregiver Application and Appeals Reform (CARE) Act, legislation born of a shared purpose: to improve the lives of our veterans and their caregivers.
Our bipartisan bill recognizes the importance of bolstering the Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers at the Department of Veterans Affairs, commonly known as the VA Caregivers Program. This initiative offers invaluable support to those who devote themselves to caring for our veterans with disabilities.
Unfortunately, inefficiencies and shortcomings within the system have forced veterans and their families to navigate a complex and confusing system to access the care they deserve.
The CARE Act seeks to address these challenges head-on by empowering Veterans Service Organizations and accredited agents to champion the cause of disabled veterans. These advocates will offer their expertise to guide veterans and their caregivers through the application process, ensuring they do not have to navigate this complex journey alone.
Additionally, our legislation compels the VA to enlist qualified medical specialists to evaluate applications and provide detailed information to those they deny. Transparency is paramount, and our veterans deserve a clear understanding of the reasoning behind decisions that significantly impact their lives.
For us, the CARE Act is more than legislation — it reflects our shared values. Rep. Davis, representing eastern North Carolina as a former U.S. Air Force officer, has witnessed the sacrifices made by military families. Rep. Kiggans, a former Navy helicopter pilot and geriatric nurse practitioner in the Hampton Roads, Va., area, intimately understands the role quality care plays in veterans’ lives. Our commitment originates from our unwavering belief that veterans deserve straightforward access to necessary care and resources.
As authors of the CARE Act, we are confident in the tangible impact this legislation will have on the lives of our veterans and their caregivers. Our collaborative efforts will ensure that veterans can access resources without bureaucratic impediments, honoring their sacrifices with the support they have earned.
To our fellow members of Congress, we extend an invitation to stand with us in support of the CARE Act. Let us uphold our sacred responsibility to those who have given so selflessly to our nation. This is about recognizing our veterans with action that befits the magnitude of their sacrifices. By finding common ground, we can forge a genuine and lasting impact on the lives of those who’ve served us so selflessly.
Rep. Don Davis, a North Carolina Democrat, sits on the House Armed Services Committee and the Committee on Agriculture. Rep. Jen Kiggans, a Virginia Republican, sits on the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, Natural Resources Committee and Armed Services Committee.