Senator Pat Toomey is proud of our men and women in uniform who are currently serving to protect the United States. The son of a former U.S. Marine and representing a state with one of the largest veteran populations in the country, he is also acutely aware of the nation's commitment to our veterans and their families who have sacrificed to preserve our freedom. He understands how important it is that we continue to provide quality medical care and other benefits to all veterans, both to those who served a generation ago and to those just returning from fighting in the war against terrorism.
Since joining the Senate, Senator Toomey has been constantly working to help Pennsylvania's veterans obtain the services and benefits they rightfully deserve and welcomes the opportunity to be of assistance. He also looks forward to working with his Senate colleagues on additional ways to help ensure the welfare of our veterans and their families.
He introduced the Veterans Sexual Assault Prevention Act (S. 1689) to protect Veterans Affairs facility patients from sexual assault. A June 2011 Government Accountability Office Report found serious lapses in the reporting of sexual assault in VA facilities, due, in part, to the lack of clear definitions, requirements and a central database for collecting and storing reports of assault. The Veterans Sexual Assault Prevention Act, which was signed into law after passing the Senate and House of Representatives will address these and other issues found in the GAO report by providing a new standard of care and protection for patients at VA facilities in Pennsylvania and across the country.
This legislation was strongly supported by the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled American Veterans, and Vietnam Veterans of America.
With the high unemployment rate for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, we must ensure that veterans coming home from the battlefield will return to employment and new opportunities. Senator Toomey voted in support of the 3 Percent Withholding Repeal and Job Creation Act (H.R. 674) that created a tax credit for employers who hire unemployed veterans. The bill also provided $1,473 a month for one year to cover college or vocational school tuition for unemployed veterans.
Additionally, Senator Toomey introduced a bill (S. 3640) to require the Transportation Security Administration to work with the VA and local charities to distribute unclaimed clothing left at airport security checkpoints to homeless and needy veterans and their families. His bill passed both the Senate and the House of Representatives and was signed into law by President Obama in January 2013.
Senator Toomey is deeply concerned about the backlog of veterans' disabilities claims which has soared since 2005. He has asked the VA to inform him about how VA will accomplish its strategic goal to reduce the backlog. He also signed a letter to President Obama asking for his direct personal involvement in resolving this issue.
Senator Toomey will continue to support sensible legislation protecting the welfare of our veterans. He also welcomes veterans to contact him for help with federal programs and services.