Isakson Fights for Veterans

As a public servant and a veteran himself, Johnny recognizes firsthand the many problems our United States veterans face when dealing with federal government bureaucracy, and he has always fought to eliminate barriers to care for our veterans.

Johnny became chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs in January 2015, and he has fought tirelessly to force the president and the leadership at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to tackle long-simmering problems within the department to ensure that our veterans have access to the best possible healthcare, support and benefits.

 

Johnny Holds VA Accountable

  • Isakson helped uncover signs of neglect and mismanagement at the Atlanta VA Medical Center and held a committee field hearing in the city in August 2013 to hold officials at all levels accountable.
  • Upon being named chairman of the Senate VA Committee in 2015, Isakson held hearings throughout the United States, including in Georgia, to bring accountability and oversight directly to the VA department.
  • Johnny introduced the Veterans First Act to change the culture at the VA by implementing sweeping accountability reforms to help hold bad actors at the VA accountable. It passed the Senate VA committee unanimously.
  • Under Johnny’s leadership, the Senate VA committee approved legislation to expedite removal or demotion of delinquent or under performing VA employees (S. 1082) and to prevent VA from awarding bonuses to employees found to have committed misconduct (S. 627).
  • Johnny called numerous times on the VA secretary to hold accountable executives involved in a multi-million dollar scheme to abuse VA’s relocation program, leading to the resignation of the under secretary for benefits.

Johnny Takes Action for Veterans

  • Johnny has ushered more than 20 pieces of veterans’ legislation through the Senate to improve, reform, and reauthorize programs at the VA, including:
  • The Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act, to help address the serious problem of veteran suicide.
  • Numerous provisions to improve the Veterans Choice Program by giving more veterans increased access to health care in their community for as long as they need it.
  • The Veterans Identification Card Act of 2015, to allow all veterans to more easily provide documentation of their military service.
  • Provisions to prevent additional taxpayer dollars from being spent on the VA’s billion-dollar hospital construction project in Denver, Colo., by requiring the VA to use internal resources to pay for over-budget construction costs.
  • Reforms to the VA’s construction program to prevent future cost overruns and mismanagement by mandating that any VA construction project over $100 million be managed by the Army Corps of Engineers or another non-VA federal entity.
  • Extensions of many important VA programs, including VA’s caregivers programs, homeless programs, adaptive sporting programs and vocational benefits for members of the armed forces with severe injuries.
  • A provision to protect veterans using their VA education benefits if the Secretary of Education withdraws recognition of the agency that accredited a veteran’s school.
  • The Charles Duncan Buried with Honor Act of 2016 (S.3076), which authorizes the VA to provide burial benefits for veterans to be buried in state cemeteries.
  • As committee chairman, Johnny has worked to ensure the VA successfully implemented the reforms set forth in the Veterans’ Access, Choice and Accountability Act of 2014, which was passed in the wake of the Phoenix VA wait-time scandal to address the systemic problems at VA facilities across the country.
  • In additional to increasing accountability at the VA, Johnny’s Veterans First Act, which was unanimously approved by the Senate VA committee, seeks to:
    • Increase protections for whistleblowers;
    • Improve veterans’ health care and benefits by expanding a VA program that allows seriously injured veterans to receive care in their own homes;
      • Enhance programs for veterans’ mental health care; and
      • Begin to address the VA’s massive backlog of veteran disability claims appeals.
  • Johnny recently introduced the Veteran Housing Stability and Homeless Prevention Act of 2016, a bill to improve benefits for homeless veterans, and the Veterans Healthcare and Benefits Improvement Act of 2016, which would increase health care access and benefits for veterans.

Johnny Helps Veterans Achieve a Successful Future

  • Johnny has worked to reduce the barriers to veterans’ employment opportunities as a member of the Congressional Veterans Jobs Caucus.
  • He supported legislation that would help veterans translate their military training into a civilian career, including the VOW to Hire Heroes Act, which encourages businesses to hire veterans and the Veterans Jobs Act, which allows veterans to use military training and credentialing for employment opportunities.
  • Through his state office in Atlanta, Johnny has helped thousands of veterans from all over Georgia in need of assistance accessing benefits and services through the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Johnny is A Veteran

  • Johnny is a veteran himself – having served in the Georgia Air National Guard from 1966-1972 – and has been a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee since he joined the Senate in 2005. He has served as chairman of the committee since January 2015.
  • Johnny’s home state of Georgia is home to more than a dozen military installations representing each branch of the military as well as to more than 750,000 veterans.

 

October 5, 2016




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