On Veterans Day, we honor the heroes who sacrifice so much to serve our country.
Our veterans risked their lives and gave up time with their families to protect us. They missed birthdays, little league games, recitals, and anniversaries. Their families gave up time with their loved ones, spending months, if not years, apart. They moved frequently, uprooting their lives again and again.
As we pay tribute to those who have served in our nation’s military, we must remember that veterans deserve more than just our gratitude.
We owe them the health care and the opportunities and the protections they’ve earned serving our country.
I’m proud to be the longest serving Ohioan on the Veterans’ Affairs Committee. I take that duty very seriously. We keep the politics out and put our veterans first. It’s how we wrote and passed the Heath Robinson PACT Act, named for an Ohio veteran who passed away at age 39 from lung cancer after exposure to burn pits during his service.
It was a years-long fight, led by Ohioans. This law is the most comprehensive expansion of benefits for veterans who faced toxic exposure in our country’s history. Now all post-9/11 combat veterans who were exposed to toxins while serving our country will get the care they have earned without exception.
We’re hosting roundtables all over the state, and getting the word out to veterans about how to sign up for the PACT Act. I encourage all veterans: go to va.gov/pact to find out more about the law and see what benefits you may be eligible for.
This is just one part of our work to ensure our servicemembers and veterans get the support they deserve. As Chairman of the Senate Banking and Housing Committee, I’m also working to protect servicemembers from financial scams and fraud.
On top of the work they already do, servicemembers and their families must watch out for fraudsters, identity thieves, predatory lenders, negligent credit reporting agencies.
Identity theft is a major concern for servicemembers. All of their travel and moving frequently makes them an easier target. And if that results in a bad mark showing up on their credit report, they could lose their security clearance and their job.
Eighty percent of security clearance revocations are related to financial difficulties.
It’s why we created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, with a specific Office of Servicemember Affairs. It’s also why we’ve called on the three credit reporting agencies to do more to protect servicemembers’ credit reports, to prevent errors that could cost them money and cost them their job serving our country.
No one who serves our country in uniform should have their bank account and their military service threatened because of scams and credit bureaus’ mistakes.
I’ll keep fighting so every servicemember and veteran gets what they earned – from healthcare to education to financial protections.
This Veterans Day, we recommit to that promise.
We will never forget the debt we owe our veterans, and we’re humbled by their commitment to service. On behalf of a grateful state, thank you for your service.