Brady Briefing: Strengthening Our Military and Holding the VA Accountable
by Kevin Brady on July 17, 2017 at 12:32 PM
Congress took a big step late last week in fulfilling its most important Constitutional duty: to provide for the common defense. I joined my colleagues in the House to pass this year’s National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). This bill fulfils our promise to rebuild America’s military capability and ensures our Armed Forces have the tools, training and troops necessary to protect and defend our country. This year’s bill funds key priorities including missile defense, cyber warfare, and most importantly, the largest pay raise for our troops since 2010.
For the most part, those who work for the Veterans Administration are committed to providing the highest quality of care. I led the effort to establish a Veteran’s Clinic in Conroe which is staffed by employees who clearly care about the veterans they serve. Unfortunately, elsewhere there are reports about serious employee misconduct, criminal activity and complaints that bad employees are rarely disciplined or fired.
President Trump and the Republican-led Congress promised to address this problem and to make the Veterans Administration work for veterans. President Trump recently signed the VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act which cuts through the red tape and holds bad employees accountable for their actions. This past week, the VA announced it had fired nearly 550 employees for misconduct since President Trump assumed office and another 230 have been suspended or demoted. I applaud President Trump and VA Secretary Shulkin for their work on behalf of our veterans.
Human trafficking may sound like a problem that only exists in some third world county but unfortunately, women and children in our own country fall victim to these heinous crimes. House Republicans continue to lead the fight against human trafficking. We passed legislation that provides funding for prevention programs and training for federal employees that will improve our detection methods. These bills reestablish our nation’s commitment to Human Rights and the safety of our citizens and will help put an end to human trafficking.
Patients, in a daily fight to survive, deserve care in the comfort and safety of their own home, so I am proud to introduce Medicare legislation to help those with weakened immune systems. Instead of risking infection traveling to clinics and hospitals, patients with immune deficiencies should receive infusions at home thanks to a Medicare pilot project I championed and am now working to extend.
Inspiring me every step of the way is my constituent, Carol Ann Demaret. Her son, David, born with Severe Combined Immunodeficiency Disease, was affectionately known as the “bubble boy” due to the sterile environment he lived in to prevent infection. While David’s time here was short, Carol Ann’s quest for a cure and treatments for immune challenged patients is a powerful legacy. The Ways and Means Committee advanced the legislation last week, moving one step closer to final passage in the House.
Finally, it is with great sadness I note the passing of a good friend and local Houston radio favorite, Michael “Matt” Patrick Ryan. Matt’s no-nonsense way of informing and entertaining his listeners made him a local favorite. I join Matt’s family – especially his wife Paula– his friends, and his listeners in recognizing and celebrating his lifetime of service, courage and faith.