July 17 - Serving Those Who Served Us

 July 17, 2014  

 Serving Those Who Served Us

Hi Everyone!

I hope you all had an enjoyable weekend. Last week, I helped introduce a bill to help prevent veteran suicides, and questioned officials at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) about delays in the processing of claims. In addition, I spoke at a national summit on sexual assault on campus at Dartmouth College. And I also helped introduce an important constitutional amendment that would reform the campaign finance system and amplify the voices of everyday people. 

At a press conference announcing the bill introduction

Advocating for our Veterans

I helped introduce the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act, after families who lost their loved ones due to suicide testified during a House Veterans’ Affairs Committee hearing. During the hearing, I heard from witnesses about the delays and other issues their loved ones experienced while attempting to receive mental health care treatment at the VA.  I was deeply moved by the stories of the families I heard from during the hearing, and I’m horrified that some of our own veterans, who served our nation so honorably, had trouble accessing high-quality mental health care services at the VA. The bill I helped introduce would work to address these issues, and would provide oversight at the VA to ensure all veterans can access the comprehensive mental health services they need.

During my time in Congress, I have consistently spoken out about the need to eliminate the VA benefits claims backlog, and on Monday I got a chance to question VA staffers who came forward about how we can make the claims processing system more time-effective at the VA. Last year, I helped introduce a legislative package to help the VA meet its goal of eliminating the claims backlog in full by 2015, and I will continue to push the VA until this gets done. Our veterans deserve better. (Watch the video here)

Speaking at the summit

Working to End Sexual Assault on Campus

On Sunday, I participated in a national summit hosted at Dartmouth to discuss how college leaders and community members can come together to prevent sexual assault from occurring on college campuses. No student should ever feel unsafe or threatened on campus, and I’m very disturbed by reports that some colleges have failed to adequately address allegations of assault on campus. We must work together to find solutions and ensure that no student ever fears for his or her safety at the college they call home for four years of their life. (Read more here)

Keep our Internet Tax Free!

I was proud to work with colleagues from both sides of the aisle to pass H.R. 3086, the Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act, which will protect Granite Staters from new, discriminatory taxes on internet access.  I am a cosponsor of this bill, which passed the House with strong support from Republicans and Democrats.

The internet is meant to provide every American citizen with equal access to a free flow of information, and placing unfair tax burdens on users would severely limit this access. That is why I am also continuing to fight against the so-called Marketplace Fairness Act, which would require Granite State businesses to collect sales taxes on behalf of out-of-state governments. So many New Hampshire families and businesses rely on affordable internet access every day, and I was thrilled to vote to pass the Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act in a bipartisan fashion on the House floor – let’s keep our internet tax free!

Fighting to Restore Voices to the People

This week I helped introduce a constitutional amendment that would reform the campaign finance system and help return the power in elections back to individuals, instead of corporations. The amendment I helped introduce would give Congress and state governments the right to pass legislation to limit the influence of outside money in federal elections. The Citizens United and McCutcheon Supreme court decisions made a bad situation much worse by opening the floodgates for even more outside spending and undue influence on our elections. For our democratic government to be truly accountable and responsive to the American people, we must reform our electoral system so that every American can play an active and equal role in our elections. The Democracy for All Amendment will go a long way towards restoring the voices of everyday people in our democracy.

With Jerry and Governor Hassan

Fun at the Race

I had a great time watching last week’s Sprint Cup at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway, and catching up with NHMS General Manager Jerry Gappens and Governor Maggie Hassan. Events like this contribute millions of dollars to our state’s economy. I am a proud cosponsor of the Motorsports Fairness and Permanency Act, which will help provide race tracks like the New Hampshire Motor Speedway with the tax certainty they need to continue to upgrade their facilities and keep supporting economic growth and job creation in the Granite State.

Have a good week and thanks for everything you do to make New Hampshire such a special place to live! 

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