Letter of Support for the Senator Elizabeth Dole 21st Century Veterans Healthcare & Benefits Improvement Act

Letter of Support for the Senator Elizabeth Dole 21st Century Veterans Healthcare & Benefits Improvement Act

The Elizabeth Dole Foundation is proud to support legislation that will provide the families of wounded veterans, including children, with critical access to care and resources. Introduced to the House of Representatives by Representative Juan Ciscomani (R-AZ), the Senator Elizabeth Dole 21st Century Veterans Healthcare & Benefits Improvement Act contains a number of provisions to help improve the lives of veterans and their families. Addressed to House and Senate leadership – Speaker of the House Mike Johnson (R-LA), House Minority Leader Hakeem Jefferies (D-NY), Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) the letter is cosigned by the Foundation and its partners.

Read the letter below.

Since the beginning of the 118th Congress, we, the undersigned organizations, have been working with the House and Senate Committees on Veterans’ Affairs on legislation to improve the health care and benefits provided to our nation’s veterans, their caregivers, their families, and their survivors. Over the course of many months, our collective engagement with Members and staff through congressional hearings, committee briefings, stakeholder roundtables, and informal discussions have led to the development of bills that address several of our highest legislative priorities for those we serve.

We were pleased to see many of these bills incorporated into the recently introduced Senator Elizabeth Dole 21st Century Veterans Healthcare and Benefits Improvement Act (H.R. 8371). From improving access to mental health and long-term care for the veterans who need it, to supporting those who care for them, as well as their survivors, this bipartisan and bicameral measure would have a tremendous impact on the entire veteran community if enacted. We have been patient and collaborative as these proposals have been reviewed and adjusted to fit into a meticulously crafted legislative package. The time to act has arrived.

We recognize that this legislation is a compromise package, one that requires all sides and interested parties to engage in good faith, as we did with the House and Senate committees. We appreciated receiving regular updates from committee staff as this omnibus package progressed, and were pleased to help resolve many differences throughout the entire process leading to the introduction of this bill. We assumed committee leaders were doing the same as the negotiations moved behind closed doors. As engaged and involved stakeholders, we were deeply disappointed to learn that the bill will not advance to the House floor for a vote before Memorial Day.

While the path forward for this bill is now unclear, we continue to stand united in our belief that Congress must pass this vital legislation as quickly as possible. The Senator Elizabeth Dole 21st Century Veterans Healthcare and Benefits Improvement Act addresses some of the most urgent needs of veterans and the people who care for them; they should not have to wait any longer.
On their behalf, we call on all of you to put aside politics, work together in good faith to find a path forward through the House and the Senate, and enact this critical legislation before the Fourth of July. America’s veterans, their caregivers, families and survivors deserve no less.

Cc: House and Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee


Carl Blake
Chief Executive Officer
Paralyzed Veterans of America

Daniel Seehafer
National Commander
The American Legion

Ryan M. Gallucci
Executive Director
VFW Washington Office

Edward R. Reese, Jr
Executive Director
DAV Washington Headquarters

Steve Schwab
Chief Executive Officer
Elizabeth Dole Foundation

Brian T. Kelly
Lieutenant General, U.S. Air Force (Ret)
President and CEO
Military Officer Association of America

Jose Ramos
Vice President for Government and Community Relations
Wounded Warrior Project

Donald D. Overton, Jr.
National Executive Director
Blinded Veterans Association

Cara Rinkoff
USAWOA Executive Director

Allison Jaslow
Chief Executive Officer
Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America

CAPT Jacqueline Rynchnovsky, USN (Ret.), PhD, CAE
Executive Director
Commissioned Officers Association of the USPHS

Deborah Oelschig
TREA National President

Michael D. Zeiders
Quality of Life Foundation

Calaneet Balas
President & CEO
The ALS Association

Keith A. Reed
Executive Director
Air Force Sergeants Association President and Secretary, Board of Directors
Airmen Memorial Foundation

Carder Ferguson
National Commander
Military Order of the Purple Heart USA

James McCormick
Director, Government Affairs
Vietnam Veterans of America

Additional Supporting Organizations:

Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation
Team Services Group
National PACE Association
U.S. Coast Guard Chief Petty Officers Association & Enlisted Association
Military Chaplains Association
Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors