WASHINGTON — After 18 years of continuous combat, the United States is still working to properly care for its veterans.
There are more who need attention than ever before, with vast improvements to personal protection.
"Again, this is good news," said Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas), himself, a wounded veteran. "More of us are surviving, but it also means we have more of us to care for."
Members of the Joint House and Senate Veterans Affairs Committee heard from the Disabled American Veterans, who called for improved care for service-related illnesses, strengthened benefits for widows and full funding for Blue Water Navy veterans of the Vietnam War.
"Concerns from the DAV and others about lack of transparency and engagement from the V.A. should be alarming to everyone," said Sen Jon Tester (D-Montana). "It's alarming to me."
The DAV's national commander said, don't mess with programs that are already working.
"Let me be crystal clear on one point, " said Dennis Nixon, who lost a leg in Vietnam. "We will not stand for cutting services or closing hospitals that disabled veterans depend on."
Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Georgia) vowed to do everything in his power to help veterans.
"Our commitment on this committee is to see to it the veterans get what they signed up for," he said. "They didn't want to get shot, but they signed up knowing if they risked their life, we'd take care of them. We want the V.A. services to be just like home. We're trying to work to see to it that every veteran who comes home, comes home to a V.A. that wants to give them the loving care they deserve, that their mama and daddy would've given them if they were here."