Commentary: Vote on standards act was not a vote against veterans

Recently, an inaccurate opinion piece by the chairwoman of the Delaware Republican Party, Jane Brady, was published calling into question a recent vote I took in the House of Representatives. (“To whom do we owe more – our vets or immigrants in custody?” Nov. 18)

The vote in question was on H.R. 3525, the U.S. Border Patrol Medical Screening Standards Act. It was alleged that in voting against a specific motion on the bill, I voted against our veterans.

Lisa Blunt Rochester

What wasn’t mentioned, however, was that the motion I voted against had nothing to do with veterans. In fact, the word veteran didn’t even appear in the motion. Rather, what I voted against was the delay of implementing an electronic medical record system for the Department of Homeland Security by 10 years, which would have made an already untenable crisis at our border even worse.

It was also suggested that neither the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs nor the Department of Defense has an electronic medical records system in place — another inaccuracy. The project that both the VA and the military are currently undergoing aims to make their systems fully interoperable with each other and with crucial community health partners, to ensure that our veterans get the best possible care. On this point, we agree — it’s the very least that our veterans deserve.

As a matter of fact, on the very day these inaccurate statements were lodged in publications, I was on the House floor voting to pass a comprehensive bipartisan package that strengthened the GI Bill, allowed veterans access to tele-hearings, and protected the families of our fallen heroes.

Last year, I worked to pass the landmark VA MISSION Act to modernize care for our veterans and expanded their access to providers in the community. This year, on the recommendation of a Delaware veteran, I fought to ensure that the families and caregivers of our disabled veterans can accompany them on military-sponsored flights. \And throughout my time in Congress, I’ve worked to assist Delaware veterans with issues ranging from recovering missing medals to accessing the health care services they’ve earned.

Delawareans and especially our veterans deserve more than politics — they deserve results. So long as I’m honored to serve our state in Washington, I’ll continue to work to make sure they get them.

Lisa Blunt Rochester, a Democrat, is Delaware’s lone representative in the U.S. House of Representatives.

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