Defense and National Security
As Chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, Pete works hard to support our 1.4 million active duty military servicemembers, our 835,000 members of the National Guard and Reserve, and our over 20 million veterans. Pete believes that we owe our active duty service men and women, veterans, and military retirees a great debt of gratitude for the sacrifices they have made for each of us, and he is committed to making sure we repay that debt to those who have given so very much.
Protecting our Troops
Pete is committed to ensuring that our troops are adequately prepared to face any challenge. That is why Pete has fought to increase funding for military readiness to ensure that those on the battlefield have the resources needed for their safe return. Additionally, Pete has supported increased investments in programs that are vital to the rebuilding and resetting of the force after twelve years of conflict, such as funding for facility sustainment and modernization.
Through the Appropriations Committee, Pete has worked to increase funding for research into traumatic brain injuries and psychological health, the signature wounds of our last decade of conflict, as well as increased funding for suicide prevention outreach programs
Pete has also worked to provide funding for members of the military to use for college courses to support their professional and personal self-development goals. This funding is a critical resource for servicemembers as they return to their families and transition from the military to the civilian workforce.
Pete believes it is the utmost priority of Congress to provide effective oversight to protect the interests of the American people and, as the Chairman of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, he has the responsibility of overseeing the expenses of over $600 billion of our nation’s treasury. Pete has used his position as Chairman to prioritize our spending to ensure efficient and effective use of our tax dollars.
As part of this oversight, Pete has worked to focus military efforts to address suicide prevention in a more effective way. For instance, Pete had serious concerns that the Navy’s nearly 123 suicide prevention programs were ineffective and dissipated resources. That is why Pete has worked with the Navy to streamline the various different suicide prevention programs and ensure that our servicemembers have better programs that are more efficient and effective.
Recognizing the Sacrifices of Military Families
Pete understands that supporting our troops also means supporting their families. When a servicemember enlists, their families enlist with them and face immense sacrifices, such as frequent moves, long separations, and the anxieties associated with fear for their servicemembers’ lives. Our military families deserve all the help we can provide.
Taking Care of our Veterans
Pete believes that we owe a great debt to the men and women who have fought for our country. We must return that debt by providing our veterans with the care and resources they deserve.
Pete is pleased that over the last decade, Congress has provided a much needed increase in resources available to the Veterans Health Administration. Locally, this increase in resources is best evidenced by the construction of a new Adam Benjamin, Jr., VA Outpatient Clinic in Crown Point, which is significantly larger than its predecessor, giving veterans in Northwest Indiana access to improved care and expanded services.
Through his role as Chairman of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, Pete has worked to to encourage interoperability between the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs health records system in order to better streamline the continuation of health care as our active duty service men and women transition to veteran status.
Beyond concerns regarding timely access to health benefits, Pete remains troubled with the high rate of unemployment among our veterans. That is why Pete supported the Putting Veterans Back to Work Act. This law established two tax credits – the Returning Heroes Tax Credit and the Wounded Warrior Tax Credit – to encourage the hiring of veterans who have been unemployed.
Military OneSource is a Department of Defense programs that provides free support, information, and resources to veterans, service members, and their families.
Military OneSource services include:
Should you need assistance contacting Military OneSource or determining what services may be available to you, please contact Pete’s Merrillville District office .