WASHINGTON – After decades of legislative backsliding and negligence, the 117th Congress has become the most pro-veteran Congress in a generation. The passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, the PACT Act, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, and other legislative victories in the past two years have positively impacted veterans’ lives across the country, and veterans, especially the over 250,000 members of Common Defense, have played a key role in making these legislative victories possible.
It is clear this administration is listening to veteran voices, and Common Defense has been on the frontline fighting on multiple legislative fronts during this Congress: from climate action to the end of a Forever War to demanding access to life-saving health care. The Inflation Reduction Act, for example, will spur our economy and create green jobs in new and existing industries, especially industries employing a significant number of veterans. This not only helps combat the most devastating effects of climate change, it also helps secure energy independence for the United States which makes us all safer.
“The Inflation Reduction Act will create millions of clean energy jobs, and these jobs will particularly benefit our veterans. The manufacturing, transportation, and utilities industries employ 20% of all veterans, and the historic investments made by the IRA will spur rapid growth in these sectors. ,” said Common Defense Climate Justice Director Perry O’Brien. “These will be high-quality jobs with strong provisions on wages and apprenticeships, and will create opportunities for vets to serve their country again by securing a future of clean, homegrown energy. The passage of the IRA also builds on major pro-veteran, job-creating legislation from Congress in the past year. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act also made historic investments necessary for a just transition to renewable energy and for community resiliency, such as funds for drinking water and waste water infrastructure, EV infrastructure, and passenger rail, bringing clean water and clean transportation options to millions of veterans across the country. These laws bring us closer to what the veterans of Common Defense have been fighting for: a just and equitable future and an investment not only in those who fought to protect this nation but for all Americans.”
The passage of the Honoring Our PACT Act was another legislative victory which was made possible by countless veterans, their families, and activists. That grassroots effort led to Pres. Biden’s commitment to the PACT Act’s passage in the State of the Union address earlier this year. “For more than a decade, advocates have fought for the recognition and healthcare veterans need. Make no mistake, the Biden administration and the 117th Congress is working on behalf of America’s veterans and our communities thanks in large part to the tireless and selfless work of so many organizers. We are proud that President Biden and our allies in Congress have been able to secure these legislative victories, but in this celebration we are reminded that the PACT Act almost didn’t pass because a few dishonorable Senators tried to renege on their earlier votes. Veterans shouldn’t have to beg for the care we earned, and Americans shouldn’t have to beg for a cleaner, safer future. Yet here we are time and time again fighting against monied interests for the sake of the people,” said Common Defense’s Political Director Naveed Shah.
Under President Biden, veterans have also accomplished long-awaited and well-deserved victories for diverse veteran communities. “In addition to addressing toxic exposure, the Biden administration and the 117th Congress invested $15 million in new maternity care coordination programs at VA facilities which addresses the gaps in care for veteran mothers in prenatal and postpartum health. Likewise, President Biden ended the military Trans ban, ended the 20-year war in Afghanistan and provided the biggest increase in pay for troops since the 1980s through the NDAA. These efforts will improve the lives of veterans for generations,” said Common Defense National Campaigns Manager Kyle Bibby.
The veterans of Common Defense understand how pivotal these victories are for our planet, the public, and, most importantly, veterans. Years of advocating for veterans’ rights have amounted to the most productive Congress in a generation, and Common Defense will continue working with elected officials to keep this momentum going for this year’s midterm elections and beyond.