PENNSYLVANIA — Congressman Matt Cartwright penned a Memorial Day op-ed yesterday, noting the best way to thank veterans is supporting them in concrete ways like through the American Rescue Plan that President Biden and congressional Democrats passed in March. Cartwright praises the ARP, which allocates $17 billion in support of VA’s response to the pandemic, including funding for rapid retraining assistance to help get the thousands of veterans who lost jobs because of the pandemic back to work.
As we celebrate Memorial Day, I’m thinking of all of Northeastern Pennsylvania’s servicemembers: those who laid down their lives in service to our nation, those who returned safely to their families but have since passed on, the veterans still with us and those on active duty.
All of them deserve recognition for defending the American experiment – a revolutionary pursuit of a society that guarantees equal opportunity, rights and freedoms for all. While we continue striving for those high ideals, these servicemembers fought, and many gave their lives, so the great experiment could carry on. We’re here today because they believed it was worth fighting for.
The American Rescue Plan is helping to improve VA care by providing additional resources for the Veterans Health Administration to respond to more expensive care needs that may have emerged for veterans during the pandemic or resulted in them delaying key appointments. It also allowed VA to waive copays that would otherwise be charged to veterans during COVID-19 to ensure no one felt the need to put off essential care any longer.
And for veterans who count on VA benefits, the American Rescue Plan authorized over $250 million to reduce the backlog of claims that grew by more than two-and-a-half times since the onset of COVID-19. These additional resources will help clear the logjam so those payments can get to our deserving veterans on time again.