As a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee, Susan fully understands America’s need for a strong military and the critical role our servicemembers play in our national security. In Congress, she has been a consistent advocate for improving the lives of our service men and women and their families. Susan’s role on the House Armed Services Committee provides San Diego with a strong voice on military issues that most affect our community.
As a past Chairwoman and Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Military Personnel, she has been at the forefront on issues that directly impact servicemembers and their families, such as increases in pay and benefits, improved housing and a health care system worthy of their service and sacrifice.
Susan has devoted countless hours addressing a number of key issues, including sexual assault, women in combat, military suicides, TBI/PTS, and the rights of LGBT servicemembers. Susan’s passion for our service men and women drives her to fight for their rights and create an equal and fair environment for anyone who desires to succeed in the military.
Supporting the Naval Fleet
As the home to one of the largest concentrations of naval forces in the world, the regional economy of San Diego benefits significantly from federal defense spending. In fact, defense spending impacts more than 300,000 jobs, a number that has grown steadily over the past decade. Susan works hard to maintain the unique economic role played by San Diego’s defense community, especially small businesses. Susan was proud to welcome to USS John P Murtha as the Navy announced that the San Antonio-class amphibious landing ship will be homeported in San Diego. Susan will always work to increase the number of jobs in the defense sector for San Diego and will ensure the Navy continues to recognize the strategic importance of our community.
Expanding Food Assistance to Military Families
Susan is leading the effort to help military families who are being blocked from benefits that help them put food on the table. Susan introduced the bipartisan Military Hunger Prevention Act to ensure eligibility for food supplement benefits for servicemembers and their families.
Susan successfully fought to extend survivor benefits for 63,000 military widows in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018. These widows will receive approximately $2.8 billion in benefits over the next ten years. These benefits were set to expire.
Military Family Leave
Those who serve our country give so much, and their spouses and families are no exception to the sacrifice. Susan helped minimize that burden when she passed legislation to provide flexibility to military families when it comes to their frequent moves that interrupt a spouses' job or education, their children's education, and exceptional and chronically sick family members.
With the number of suicides and attempted suicides alarmingly high, Susan has been working with her colleagues and the Department of Defense to ensure that every resource is available for our brave men and women throughout their service and when they transition to civilian life. She is working to increase the number of mental health professionals and reduce wait times for servicemembers seeking help.
Military Sexual Assault
Sexual assault within the ranks is not only harmful to its victims but it is antithetical to the trust and camaraderie that defines military culture. Any sexual assault undermines the moral foundation of our Armed Forces and does irreparable harm to unit cohesion. As the then-Chair and current Ranking Member of the Military Personnel Subcommittee, Susan has taken a leading role to put policies in place to prevent sexual assault in the ranks and to prosecute these crimes. Susan will continue to press military leaders on the need to implement, enforce and improve upon the policies put in place to end sexual assault in our military.