President Ronald Reagan once said “A truly successful army is one that, because of its strength and ability and dedication, will not be called upon to fight, for no one will dare to provoke it.”
As your Congressman and representative of the largest Army base in the world, I take this commitment seriously to supporting our troops and their families. Building a nation that’s safe is also a key pillar of House Republicans “Commitment to America.”
That’s why the House recently passed the bipartisan FY24 National Defense Authorization Act. This is the key piece of legislation that authorizes funding for our military and national defense for the year — including over $260 million in funding for critical infrastructure projects that will aid our region’s military personnel.
I am especially proud this year’s NDAA contains provisions I fought to include. Among these projects are the construction of a Child Development Center to address the existing deficit of childcare spaces available to improve the quality of life of military families stationed in our community, and a permanent Aircraft Maintenance Hangar facility to accommodate aircraft serving the U.S. Army Special Operations Command.
This year’s NDAA also includes the biggest pay raise for our troops in decades, pushes back against the woke ideology being forced on our military members, equips our military with the tools and resources to counter the rapidly growing threats from foreign adversaries, and improves military readiness. This bill also provides assistance to the over 8,000 service members who were discharged for not taking the COVID-19 vaccine and provides them with a path back to service.
While we can never thank our active duty military, their families, and our veterans enough for their service, we must continue to do everything we can to improve the quality of health care we provide them.
For example, Master Sergeant Rich Stayskal, a resident of Moore County, served our country honorably and was wounded in combat. While stationed in our region, a missed cancer diagnosis changed his life. In response, I helped change federal law in 2020 so Rich and other military families could receive support when they are victims of medical malpractice while on active duty.
However, the Department of Defense has failed to implement the law properly, stealing hope from Rich Stayskal and hundreds of military families who have been harmed by medical negligence.
I was proud to introduce the HERO Act to correct this wrong for our nation’s heroes who are victims of malpractice from a DoD medical treatment facility. They should have the right and opportunity to take their claim to District Court in order to receive the compensation they deserve. Service members such as Rich kept their promise to us — they served honorably, and they deserve the best we have to offer them. I will not stop fighting until they get it.
In North Carolina, Veterans Day is not just one day a year — it is a year-long call to action. That’s why I was also proud to join my House colleagues recently to reintroduce the bipartisan resolution to designate November 12, 2023 as “National Warrior Call Day.” This meaningful day will encourage folks in our community and across the country to check in on someone they know, active duty, or veteran. The suicide rate among our nation’s veterans is 2.5 times that of all civilians. It is important to address the challenges veterans face head-on and address the stigma around seeking help.
Ensuring our military families and veterans have the resources they deserve are some of the most important duties we have in Congress. I'll never stop fighting to support our troops, their families and our veterans.