believe we need to do more to live up to our obligations to veterans and have
been committed to this cause throughout my career. We must provide our veterans with the quality
health care they deserve and were promised.
It is for this reason that I am proud to serve as the Chairman of the Senate Military Construction
and VA Appropriations Subcommittee. This
Subcommittee is responsible for providing funds to run the Veterans
Administration and associated agencies.
As Chairman, I will continue working to provide the VA with the timely
and full funding it needs.
My Priorities & Accomplishments
Veterans Rural Health
- In the FY09 VA Appropriations bill I established a VA Rural Health Initiative to help veterans residing in underserved areas and on Native American reservations have better access to the VA’s system of health care. This allows the VA to expand initiatives such as telemedicine, mobile clinics, and partnerships with other federal, State, and community providers.
- Going forward, I will continue working to improve accessibility and availability of services.
VA Health Care
- I was an original cosponsor of the Veterans Health Care Budget Reform and Transparency Act (P.L.111-81) that funds the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) one year in advance to ensure the VHA doesn’t fall victim to budget shortfalls and delays. As Chairman of the VA Appropriations Subcommittee, my support of this bill was critical to its success. The passage of this bill was a big step forward in achieving sufficient, timely, and predictable health care at the VA.
- I have provided funding to incrementally increase the income threshold for Priority 8 veterans because all veterans should be provided medical service by the VA, regardless of their income. This is a step in the right direction to opening enrollment to all veterans.
- Female veterans represent a growing segment of our veteran population. I have supported and will continue to support funding and legislation to help meet their unique needs.
VA Claims Processing
- As Chairman, I have put millions of dollars into the VA for increasing claims processors. Progress has been made but more work remains to provide effective and efficient service to our nation’s veterans.
- I support President Obama and Secretary Shinseki’s efforts to end veteran homelessness and am working with them to provide the VA with the resources necessary to meet the health care and housing needs of our nation’s homeless veterans.
Veterans Education Benefits
- I cosponsored the Post 9/11 Veterans Education Assistance Act and as Chairman of the Military Construction and Veteran’s Affairs Appropriations Subcommittee, I fought to have this updated G.I. Bill included in the 2008 Iraq War Supplemental Funding bill.
- I cosponsored the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Improvements Act, which expands Post-9/11 G.I. Bill eligibility to members of the National Guard who are activated to serve domestically and covers more educational programs such as vocational training, apprenticeships, flight training, and correspondence courses.
I am proud of my commitment to issues important to military personnel, retirees, and veterans. Below are awards I have been honored with for work on behalf of servicemembers and veterans.
- 2012 Williamson Militiaman Award from the South Dakota National Guard
- 2011 Congressional Award from the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW)
- Honored by the Disabled Veterans LIFE Memorial Foundation for my continued dedication to disabled veterans and efforts to support building a memorial to honor disabled veterans in Washington, D.C.
- Arthur T. Marix Congressional Leadership Award from the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA)
- L. Mendel Rivers Award for Legislative Action from the Non Commissioned Officers Association (NCOA)
- Disabled American Veterans National Commander's Award
- George "Buck" Gillespie BAVF Congressional Award from the Blind American Veterans Foundation
- Majorie S. Holt Distinguished Government Service Award presented by the Retired Enlisted Association
- National Guard Association’s Charles Dick Medal of Merit
- “A” Rating from the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) in recognition of my strong voting record in support of veterans legislation during the 111th Congress. I was one of only nine Senators to receive this rating.
Honoring a Hero
Master Sgt. Woodrow Wilson Keeble is a hero that has served our nation honorably and made South Dakota and all of America proud. Learn more about him and Tim's work to secure him the Medal of Honor.