U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA), a combat veteran and chairman of the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities, hosted a telephone town hall with veterans from across Iowa today. Ernst, joined by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie, shared the work she is doing for veterans in the Senate, and helped answer questions from folks about the resources available to them.
“Having worn our great nation’s colors in combat, commanded men and women overseas during Operation Iraqi Freedom, and served as the battalion commander of the largest battalion in the Iowa Army National Guard, I have a deep connection to and appreciation for our veterans,” said Senator Ernst. “I’ve worked hard—alongside Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert Wilkie—to get veterans in Iowa, and across the country, the benefits they were promised and a quality of care we can all be proud of. Part of that effort is ensuring our veterans have access to all of the resources available to them, and I was glad to host today’s telephone town hall to help that effort. Thank you Secretary Wilkie for joining.”
“Under President Trump, VA has instituted a series of groundbreaking reforms, particularly in the areas of customer service and accountability. This unprecedented progress for Veterans would not have been possible without the support of great legislators like Sen. Ernst. We’re grateful for her support and thank her for the work she’s done for Veterans in Iowa and across the nation,” said Secretary Wilkie.
As the first female combat veteran elected to the United States Senate, Senator Ernst has made supporting our war heroes one of her top priorities—working across the aisle to pass legislation to provide veterans the resources they need.
Senator Ernst is working on a bipartisan bill to increase resources for homeless veterans during the COVID-19 public health emergency by granting the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) greater flexibility in caring for and meeting the needs of our homeless veterans.
She is leading an effort to increase accountability at the VA and better care for our veterans. Her bill, the Ensuring Quality Care for Our Veterans Act, requires that every health care provider hired by the VA with a revoked license, undergoes a third party review of that provider’s care. If the review determines that a competent practitioner would have managed the veteran’s care differently, the veteran will be notified. This legislation passed the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs with unanimous support earlier this year.
Last fall, President Trump signed another one of her bills—the HAVEN Act—into law.This bill would protect the economic security and well-being of veterans and their families who rely on disability benefits and may be experiencing financial hardship.
Ernst also helped get the VA MISSION Act—a bipartisan bill that improves veterans’ access to health care services—signed into law. This legislation included her bill to allow rural or homebound veterans in Iowa, and across the U.S., to receive necessary care, including critical mental health care, from the comfort of their homes.