On September 26, 2014 Congresswoman Speier discussed the disability compensation claims process with Julie Boor, the new director of the Oakland VA. When Speier last visited this regional office in 2012, the backlog of claims was in excess of 34,000. Boor said th backlog is down to 10,000.
In 2013, Congresswoman Speier moderated an important discussion with combat veterans on the trauma of battle. The three veterans - Ari Sonnenberg, a multiple tour veteran and platoon sergeant in Iraq; Michelle Wilmot, an Iraq medic who helped conduct house raids in a rare use of women in combat by the military; and Drew Mendelson, an artillery officer in Vietnam - have turned to art after coming home from combat. Please watch the video here:
Congresswoman Speier believes we have a sacred obligation to provide quality health care and compensation to veterans with service-connected disabilities. Over the last two years, she helped Bay Area veterans receive over $4 million in compensation for their service injuries. She has co-sponsored two Veterans Fix-It events that brings the VA and veterans together to resolve issues that are delaying claims. She also sponsors opportunities for veterans to meet with employers who want to hire veterans and is a strong supporter of educational benefits for veterans.
Congresswomen Jackie Speier and Barbara Lee listen to veterans
at the second Fix-It Event in San Francisco on April 19, 2013.
The Congresswoman is a national advocate for reforming how the military prosecutes perpetrators of military sexual trauma (MST). She believes these MST cases which the military acknowledges have reached epidemic proportions must be handled by objective experts in prosecution, investigation and victim care and not by united commands where rank and friendships may taint decisions. Her reforms are contained in the STOP Act.
Jackie serves on the Armed Services Committee and is a member of the Readiness and Oversight and Investigations subcommittees. The Readiness Subcommittee makes sure that our troops are properly trained and their equipment is properly maintained so they can succeed in their missions, and that they have the facilities and services they deserve when they return home. On Oversight and Investigations, she and her colleagues conduct studies and investigations into allegations of waste, fraud, abuse, and wrongdoing and inefficiencies within the Department of Defense.
Sexual Assault Training Oversight and Prevention Act (STOP Act)
The Sexual Assault Training Oversight and Prevention Act, or STOP Act, aims to fundamentally change how sexual assault is handled in the military by taking prosecution, reporting, oversight, investigation and victim care of sexual assaults out of the hands of the normal chain of command and placing jurisdiction in the hands of impartial experts.
Disabled Veterans Nutrition Fairness Act
The Disabled Veterans Nutrition Fairness Act will enable veterans to file for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance benefits under disability status while their disability claims are pending at the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Filipino Veterans Fairness Act
The Filipino Veterans Fairness Act would make all WWII Filipino veterans eligible for benefits similar to those received by all WWII U.S. veterans.