Costello Op-Ed: Helping America’s veterans tops priority list
As published in the Pottstown Mercury
For me, January has been full of firsts. First vote, first day on the job, first speech on the House floor, just to name a few.
And one of my first honors was being selected to serve as a member on two vital committees for the 114th Congress and for our district at home – the House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure and the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.
It is an honor to represent my constituents on these committees and these roles offer excellent opportunities to get right to work on legislation that will provide real reforms to the many challenges our great nation faces. While finding solutions that will reduce our debt, cut our spending, and reduce bureaucracy are focuses for our new Congress, helping our veterans and modernizing our nation’s infrastructure and transportation networks are some of my personal priorities, and areas where I believe our new Congress can make an instant and substantive difference.
In fact, we’ve already passed legislation in the House that benefits our veterans and helps our small businesses. Earlier this month, I co-sponsored the Hire More Heroes Act, encouraging small businesses to hire veteran employees without being forced to comply with unnecessary red tape and pay costly Obamacare taxes.
Another piece of legislation I helped pass would provide easier access to mental health services, and establish peer and community support assistance, for veterans and their families if enacted into law.
In the coming weeks I intend to focus on and start efforts to address the following two issues facing our nations’ veterans:
- Reducing the claims backlogs at the VA by establishing reforms that will streamline the veterans’ claims process.
- Helping to create, improve, and provide greater opportunities for our returning soldiers to return to civilian life, find employment, and better utilize the benefits available to them through the VA.
I made a commitment to work as hard as possible to produce real results for my constituents, to hold the president accountable, and to do all I can in Congress to help grow our economy. Further, given my new roles on the aforementioned committees, I also look forward to playing an active and productive role in helping to modernize our transportation systems and improve the quality of life for our nation’s veterans.
I look forward to continuing to inform you of legislation that I am working on and I appreciate the opportunity to work on your behalf.
Congressman Ryan A. Costello is the U.S. representative for Pennsylvania’s Sixth Congressional District that includes portions of Berks, Chester, Lebanon and Montgomery counties.