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Posted by Randy | March 30, 2015
In case you haven’t heard the news yet, the Veterans Administration (VA) recently announced that in order to expand the number of veterans eligible under the Veterans Choice Program, they are changing the way the distance between a veteran’s residence and the nearest VA medical facility is calculated. (This is the program that allows eligible veterans to receive access to non-VA providers, to ensure they get the care they need and deserve). The VA will now be calculating the 40-mile rule by driving miles instead of “as the crow flies” miles – thanks to feedback from veterans, their families, and others.

This policy change will occur through a regulatory action that may take a number of weeks, but the good news is that the VA estimates this change will roughly double the number of veterans who will be eligible to participate in the Choice program. The VA published a FAQ sheet on the change here, and has said they will notify newly eligible veterans by mail.

Our servicemembers didn’t wait to answer the call of duty, and they should not have to wait to receive timely, quality medical care. I will continue working to ensure that is the case.
Posted by Randy | March 19, 2015
Real quick – wanted to be sure you had seen this good news. Recently, there was controversy at Robins Air Force Base in Georgia when a complaint was made over Airmen saying "have a blessed day” as part of their greeting to visitors at the security gate entrance.  The phrase was not part of official protocol, but rather a traditional southern phrase offered voluntarily by the greeters.

After review, the Air Force reinforced that the phrase is perfectly acceptable under the new AFI 1-1 policy protecting religious freedom. You can read the Robins Air Force Base’s statement on their facebook page, here.

I will keep working to protect the ability of our men and women in uniform to exercise the very freedoms they are fighting for. To stay up to date on these issues, click here to like my Facebook page.
Posted by Randy | January 09, 2015

In 2015, I have no higher priority than continuing my fight to support our men and women in uniform, and to protect our national security. It’s not just a duty, it’s an honor.

Supporting our American heroes once they return home isn’t optional – it is this nation’s moral obligation. That’s why I’m pleased the House passed Hire More Heroes Act (H.R. 22) this week, with my support, and it’s now heading over to the Senate for consideration.
Posted by Randy | December 07, 2014

73 years ago on this day, approximately 2,000 Americans were killed and over 1,000 injured in the horrific attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

We will never forget that day. We will never forget the loss of those lives – the loss suffered by the heartbroken families, and the loss suffered by our nation as it missed the good that these patriotic, duty-driven servicemembers would have brought to our country. No matter how many years pass by, we will always remember and we will always be grateful for those who fought to protect our country,sacrificing so much that we might be here today.

This weekend, take a moment to pause and pay tribute to those who dedicate their lives to serving our country. Let us remember Pearl Harbor.

If you have worn our nation’s uniform, or have a family member who has served, I want to say a special thank you. Our country can never repay you for your service or sacrifice. We cannot repay you for the months spent far from home and far from loved ones, for the time and energy invested in protecting this nation. But we are grateful. And we will never forget. Fighting for you in Congress is not just a duty, it is a privilege.

Posted by Randy | September 29, 2014

Recently, the House of Representatives considered The Jobs for America Act, which is a package of bills supporting job creation through streamlining regulations, encouraging the hiring of American veterans, and providing relief for small businesses from Obamacare.

Some of the bills included are The REINS Act, (H.R. 367), which ensures that Congress votes on all new major regulations before they are enforced on citizens and businesses; The Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act, (H.R. 3086), which protects internet access for all Americans and fosters growth in the digital economy; and the America's Small Business Tax Relief Act, (H.R. 4457), which ensures small businesses have the certainty they need to grow their businesses and create jobs.

Government should be an enabler of economic growth, not a barrier.

Posted by Randy | August 28, 2014
I believe that Congress has an obligation to address our nation's fiscal challenges in a responsible fashion that does not harm seniors or future generations of Americans.   I introduced legislation (H.R.3161) to ensure that money allocated to both the Social Security and Medicare Trust Funds can only be used for the purpose for which they were intended.  Medicare and Social Security need to be dependable and consistent for the seniors who rely on them.

We must fulfill the commitments we have made to our seniors – that after a lifetime of work and service to our communities, Social Security and Medicare will be there for them when they need it.

I will continue working to eliminate fraud in Medicare, oppose access to benefits for those here illegally, provide access to local pharmacies, ensure that healthcare decisions are made between patients and their doctors, instead of bureaucrats in Washington, and prioritize medical research to find cures for diseases like cancer, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s.
Posted by Randy | August 05, 2014

You and I both know: Our veterans are the real American idols. That’s why delays in access to care and wait lists are not only a systemic problem nationwide – they are a national disgrace. We can’t afford to lose focus on this issue. Here’s what I’m working on:

  • If the VA cannot provide timely medical care to our veterans, then we need to get them care at a private doctor. I supported a bill to do just that, which passed unanimously in the House (Read: H.R. 4810).
  • Holding the Deptartment of Veterans Affairs accountable isn’t optional - it’s essential. I supported a bill to allow any senior bureaucrat at the VA to be fired or demoted for poor performance (Read: H.R. 4031).
  • Our heroes deserve better than backlogs and bureaucracy. I supported a bill to evaluate the underlying causes of the severe claims backlog that is plaguing the Veterans Benefits Administration and to create commonsense solutions to help reduce or eliminate the backlog (Read: H.R. 2189).

If you’d like to keep getting updates on this issue, sign up for my email updates and I will keep you in the loop.  

Posted by Randy | July 31, 2014
Last night, the House passed the Veterans' Access to Care through Choice, Accountability, and Transparency Act (H.R. 3230) with my support. This bill is a step forward, but it represents a tourniquet on a wound, not a cure to a disease. Much work remains to be done to rectify the situation, and I will continue to let nothing stand in the way of our priority of taking care of our nation’s heroes.

Weigh in with your thoughts on my Facebook page, here. 

Posted by Randy | July 16, 2014
Last month, a Veterans Affairs hospital in Michigan was ordered to conceal all Christian symbols inside of its chapel due to a VA policy handbook published in 2008, which states, “When VA Chaplains are not providing or facilitating a religious service for a particular faith group, the chapel must be maintained as religiously neutral, reflecting no particular faith tradition.”

In response, I joined 22 of my colleagues in sending a letter to the VA inquiring about the policy implementation in 2008 and urging the VA not to scrub its chapels of all religious symbols.

We are a nation founded on the freedom of religion, not freedom from religion. Over time, this important concept has been distorted, and its misapplication has led the public to believe that the Constitution’s intent was to confine religion to the four walls of the church.  But the Constitution does not require the elimination of religious symbols from the public square – rather, it protects the free exercise of religion for every American. 

The 101 members of the bipartisan Congressional Prayer Caucus, that I founded, are in the thick of the fight for religious liberty every day. Learn more about our most recent efforts, here
Posted by Randy | June 23, 2014
An Interim Report from the Veterans Affairs Inspector General concluded that delays in access to care and wait lists are a systemic problem nationwide. If the VA can’t provide medical care to our veterans we need to get them care at a private doctor.

I supported legislation, the Veterans Access to Care Act (H.R.4810), that requires the VA to authorize non-VA care to any enrolled veteran who lives more than 40 miles from a VA facility, or has waited longer than the wait-time goals for a medical appointment. This bill passed unanimously in the House. 

Our veterans are our heroes, and deserve better than waitlists, delays, and abuses.  I will keep fighting to make sure they receive the care and benefits they’ve earned and deserve.