Esty Named Top Democrat on Subcommittee Overseeing Veterans’ Benefits
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty (CT-5) today was appointed in a unanimous, bipartisan vote of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee to the position of Ranking Member on the Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs.
The Subcommittee has legislative oversight of compensation, pensions, and benefits for veterans of all wars of the United States.
“I’m honored to have the opportunity to serve our nation’s veterans by helping to lead this important, bipartisan subcommittee,” Esty said. “Working on behalf of those in Connecticut and across the country who have worn the uniform in defense of our freedom is one of my greatest honors as a representative. There is a great deal of work ahead to ensure that every veteran who serves this country receives the support and care they deserve. I’m ready and eager to partner with my colleagues on the Subcommittee to help all veterans and military families claim their rightful benefits with less red tape and fewer delays.”
“I congratulate Congresswoman Esty for being elected to serve as the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs,” said Rep. Tim Walz (D-MN), the Ranking Democrat on the Veterans’ Affairs Committee. “I know her to be a dedicated and passionate advocate for veterans in her district, and I am confident that as Ranking Member she will be able to extend that commitment to every veteran in the U.S.”
Yesterday, Esty helped lead a Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs Subcommittee hearing focused on the National Work Queue program and its effect on the processing of veterans’ claims. Video of Esty’s remarks and questions for witnesses, which focused on balancing both efficient processing and personalized service, is available by visiting https://youtu.be/OrTPSRf8vZ0.
Esty has made serving the 36,000 veterans living in Connecticut’s Fifth District a top priority since arriving in Congress, both through legislation and through casework with federal agencies. Since taking office in January 2013, Esty has helped 1,095 local veterans recover over $2.6 million in overdue benefits and compensation.
In 2015, Esty’s bipartisan Gold Star Fathers Act – which extends formal hiring preference for federal jobs to fathers of military sons and daughters who gave their life in service to our country – was signed into law by former President Barack Obama. She was also a lead sponsor of the Gold Star Families Voices Act, which calls for documenting for history the sacrifices and life stories of fallen service members and their families so that future generations have a clearer understanding of the realities of war. That bill was signed into law last year.
In addition, Esty coauthored the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act, which was introduced by Veterans’ Affairs Committee Ranking Member Tim Walz (D-MN) and signed into law two years ago.
Esty is the lead author of several other bipartisan measures to support veterans and military families.
• Her Helping Veterans Exposed to Burn Pits Act would expand research into the prevention, mitigation, treatment, and rehabilitation of health conditions relating to exposure to burn pits.
• Her CARE for All Veterans Act would expand eligibility for the VA’s Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers to veterans of all conflicts with a serious service-connected injury. Current law limits eligibility to those veterans injured on or after September 11, 2001.
• Her Support the Families of Fallen Heroes Act would direct the U.S. Postal Service to issue the Families of Fallen Heroes Semipostal Stamp, the proceeds of which would go to the Families of the Fallen Support program which is jointly administered by the United Service Organizations, Inc. (USO) and the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS).
In addition to the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, Esty serves in Congress on the Science and Technology Committee and the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, of which she was recently elected Vice Ranking Member.