The unparalleled freedoms and liberties that we enjoy as Americans have propelled our nation to prosperity and contributed to the values that make America great. However, these freedoms and liberties wouldn’t exist if it were not for our brave veterans. Those who have served our nation – many paying the highest cost – are the epitome of honor, strength, and valor.
I work hard to support meaningful and effective legislation and vote in a way that will benefit the Fifth Congressional District of Colorado, especially when it pertains to active duty military members and veterans who call our district home. I understand the importance of maintaining a strong national defense and providing support for the men and women who have bravely served our country with honor. Colorado’s Fifth District is home to the highest number of veterans in any congressional district in our nation.
I have fought to ensure that our military remains strong and that our veterans receive proper care as your representative in Congress. While the Department of Defense was making drastic cuts to troop numbers nationwide, I fought to minimize those cuts and maintain a strong troop enlistment at Fort Carson Army Base. That effort resulted in a relatively small cut of only 365 soldiers (out of 23,349 soldiers stationed there).
I will continue to work to ensure that veterans receive proper care by sponsoring and supporting legislation to reform the VA and to ensure that veterans receive the benefits and the quality of care they have earned. The Veterans Empowerment Act is my most recent move to provide Veterans with the choice to determine their individual health care providers.
Sponsored and Cosponsored Veterans Legislation
H.R. 4457 - Veterans Empowerment Act
The Veterans Empowerment Act comes in the wake of systemic issues in VA programs widely documented since the 2014 nationwide scandal. An Inspector General report highlighted the falsified patient wait times at the Colorado VA for veterans with Post Traumatic Stress. The legislation would give veterans options similar to the highly-successful Tricare Standard program long in use by the active duty military community.
Our veterans deserve the highest degree of care. Giving them options to choose their healthcare plans and doctors is empowering. This bill means veterans, especially those with extreme disabilities, can expect to have their needs taken care of quickly and efficiently. Its good policy and makes sense.
This bill throws out the idea of acceptable patient wait times and eliminates the requirement of the veteran to ask for VA permission to use civilian medical providers. It gives veterans full authority to use the existing VA system or not.
Pikes Peak National Veterans Cemetery
The first bill I introduced when I came to Washington was a bill to establish a Veterans National Cemetery in Southern Colorado. Working across the aisle with Members of both parties, we are making significant progress on this vital project.
I’m pleased to report that the full year Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations bill was included in the Continuing Resolution that was signed into law by the President at the end of September. As a result, the Pikes Peak National Veterans Cemetery will receive the full $36 million in funding necessary to complete the cemetery’s construction. Our veterans and their families have waited many years for this, and it is gratifying to see progress being made. I thank all the veterans in our district who have worked tirelessly on this over the years. For more information about the Pikes Peak National Veterans Cemetery, see my Veterans Cemetery Information page.
H.R.5392 – No Veterans Crisis Line Call Should Go Unanswered Act
I advocated for and helped pass H.R. 5392, the No Veterans Crisis Line Call Should Go Unanswered Act. This bill was developed in response to reports that phone calls to the crisis lines at the VA were going to voicemail because of employee mismanagement. This treatment of veterans is outrageous and completely unacceptable. H.R. 5392 would require the VA to develop a plan to ensure that each telephone call and text message is answered in a timely manner by an appropriately qualified, live person.
H.R.3216 – VET Act
I voted in strong support of H.R. 3216, the VET Act. This act was developed after the VA refused to help transfer a veteran suffering from a broken foot to a VA emergency room. Amazingly, the VA hospital officials told the veteran to call 911. The bill is designed to clarify and strengthen the VA’s obligation to provide appropriate emergency care for veterans and prohibit VA from transferring a medically unstable veteran unless the veteran makes a written request to be transferred or it is clinically necessary. H.R.5162 – Vet Connect Act
I supported H.R. 5162, the Vet Connect Act. This bill would require the VA to share medical record information with community providers in order to provide care or treatment to a shared patient. This type of collaboration is much needed and will benefit many veterans.
Southern Colorado VA Community-Based Outpatient Clinic
I am fighting for this super clinic with expanded services because I know our veterans need it. This clinic will make world-class medical care more easily accessible to veterans throughout the Pikes Peak region.
This new clinic is further evidence that the Veterans Administration recognizes their growing numbers and is committed to providing them the best medical care.
The 76,000-square foot facility is more than double the space in the current two clinics that are being replaced by the new “super” clinic. The replacement clinic will provide primary care, mental health, specialty care, and ancillary diagnostic service for veterans in the eastern Rockies area.
World War I Centennial Silver Dollar
“Next year will be the 100th anniversary of the signing of the armistice with Germany, marking the end of battlefield hostilities in World War I. During the war, more than 4 million men and women from the United States served in uniform, and more than 100,000 gave their lives."
"To honor their service and sacrifices, Congress created the World War I Centennial Commission in 2013. The Commission was tasked with planning and executing activities to commemorate the centennial of World War I through the use of private donations and coin sales."
"While other great conflicts, including the Civil War, World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War, have all been memorialized on United States commemorative coins, there currently exists no coin to honor the brave veterans of World War I. That is why I introduced the bill that allowed us to honor the memory, service, and sacrifices of the brave veterans of World War I, while also providing the means to pay tribute to the end of World War I battlefield hostilities. Along with my colleagues in the House and Senate, including Rep Emmanuel Cleaver of Missouri, and Senators Roy Blunt and Claire McCaskill of Missouri, we authorized the World War I Centennial Silver Dollar in 2014."
"The $10 surcharge collected on the sale of this historic coin will assist the World War I Centennial Commission in commemorating the centenary of World War I, which includes building the new national World War I memorial in Washington D.C. Each coin is its own commemoration of our veteran’s sacrifice during the war, but the funds raised will build this new lasting memorial for all visitors to enjoy. I had the opportunity to attend the groundbreaking event a few weeks ago at Pershing Park and see the new site. When complete, the memorial will pay a fitting tribute to our heroes."
More on Veterans
A Message From Congressman Lamborn on COVID-19
Contact: Cassandra Sebastian (719) 520-0055
Washington D.C. - Today, the U.S. House of Representatives voted once again on a Continuing Resolution to fund the government. The Pentagon has started the fiscal year under a CR for 13 of the past 18 years.
Congressman Lamborn issued the following statement on the continuing resolution:
By Congressman Doug Lamborn
There is a growing conversation about the future of access to veterans' health care across the nation. As the longest war continues, it is more apparent that the answer for a previous generation of veterans has fallen significantly short in supporting the needs of Post-911 veterans.
Nearly two decades after a local coalition began its push for a national cemetery, more than 80,000 Pikes Peak region veterans will soon have a final place to call home.
Ground will be broken soon on the Pikes Peak National Cemetery near the Colorado Springs Airport after an effort that brought together unlikely allies and a few circumstances that backers of the cemetery attribute to having God on their side.
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Things are looking up for two veterans who were taking classes to get a HVAC certification in Texas.
The Retail Ready Career Center in Texas closed unexpectedly, leaving the students without a certificate they worked for and no way to get a hold of those transcripts. They were also left with uncertainty on whether or not they would get their GI bill tuition money back.
But the community came together to lend a helping hand to these guys.
FOX21 first spoke with Charles Autry and Steven Patillo in October about this issue.