Veterans Issues

The San Diego region is home to a very large and active veteran community, with more than 60,000 former service members living in California’s 53rd Congressional District alone.  As Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Military Personnel, Susan focuses on caring for service members both during their active duty service and once when they leave the military.

Reducing Wait Times for VA Care

Veterans enduring long waits to receive care have made headlines across America. Susan regularly sits down with veterans to listen to their experiences to find solutions to improve the VA Susan speaking with care system. She also meets with local VA employees dedicated to caring for our veterans and who are equally frustrated that they don’t always have the resources to help our veterans. 

Susan supported bipartisan legislation to reduce waiting times many veterans have faced when trying to get access to health care. The Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act recently enacted into law provides for:

  • Veterans to get health care at a private facility if they live 40 miles from a VA facility or can’t get an appointment within 30 days.
  • The hiring of more doctors and nurses to meet the overwhelming demand the VA is experiencing.
  • The opening of 27 new VA facilities to ensure veterans have access to state-of-the-art care and convenient access to a heath care facility.

Preventing Suicides Among Veterans

Twenty veterans commit suicide everyday. No veteran should feel that the country they sacrificed for doesn’t care about them.  Susan is working to ensure an effective support system is in place for our veterans to access. We also need to better communicate to veterans about the vast network that is available to them.

Susan supported bipartisan action to strengthen the support system for veterans. Recently enacted into law, The Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act will:

  • Increase outreach efforts to assist transitioning servicemembers with accessing VA mental health care services 
  • Create a one-stop, interactive website to serve as a centralized source of information regarding all mental health services for veterans 
  • Increase efforts to recruit and retain psychiatrists that will help address the shortage of mental health care professionals
  • Create an annual, third-party evaluation of all mental health care and suicide prevention practices and programs at the VA to find out what’s working and what is not working

Susan will continue seeking ways to improve on efforts to reduce incidents of suicides among veterans.

Creating Opportunity for Veterans

When they are ready to end their military service, Susan wants to ensure servicemembers have opportunities to further their education, find employment, or start a business. As Ranking Member on the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Military Personnel, she is in a prime position to help servicemembers who are transitioning out of the military.

Through the annual defense bills, Susan continues to improve on transition assistance programs that help veterans make the most of their skills as they enter into the civilian workforce. Employers can benefit greatly by what veterans have to offer in the workplace. These transition assistance programs can direct veterans to apprenticeships that connect their technical experience with the appropriate industry or academic institution.

Flexibility is critical when it comes to student loans for servicemembers. Susan updated the Higher Education Act to help reservists defer student loan payments and reenter college after activation.

Helping Homeless Veterans

Having talked to the many veterans living on the streets of San Diego, Susan has seen first hand how those who fought for us are now fighting to get off the streets. It’s important these veterans know that they have not been forgotten especially after the sacrifices they have made.  

A strong supporter of veterans’ transition programs, Susan has helped secure funding for programs in our community to help organizations expand and renovate their facilities so they may continue to meet the needs of the growing veteran population.

Susan has pushed for funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) voucher program because she sees the difference it makes in the lives of veterans in San Diego.  HUD-VASH provides rental assistance for homeless veterans along with case management and clinical services in an effort to help them become self-sufficient members of their community once again.  

Susan recently announced $1.4 million for San Diego to end homelessness among veterans. The funding will help veterans and their families with rent and utility payments. Since 2010, the overall veteran homelessness has decreased by 36 percent, and unsheltered homelessness has decreased by nearly 50 percent.

She is also working to get HUD to change the funding formula so that our region has the federal funding it needs to get people into housing and in better economic conditions. San Diego has one of the largest homeless populations in the country, yet our region doesn’t get its fair share of federal dollars to help get people off the streets.

Helping Veterans and Service Dogs

Susan has cosponsored the Puppies Assisting Wounded Servicemembers (PAWS) Act, a bill to establish a pilot program for training dogs to help treat veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress (PTS) and other post-deployment mental health issues. It is important that we not only employ medical and psychological expertise to combat this awful and debilitating condition, but it is also important to utilize the benefits of therapeutic practices such as PAWS. 

More on Veterans Issues

Dec 6, 2017 Press Release

WASHINGTON – Reps. Susan Davis (D-CA), Joe Wilson (R-SC), Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), Brian Mast, (R-FL), and Jacky Rosen (D-NV) introduced bipartisan legislation in the House of Representatives to increase healthcare opportunities for disabled veterans.

The Fair Access to Insurance for Retired (FAIR) Heroes Act will allow veterans who were medically discharged to choose their healthcare coverage through Medicare or TRICARE.

Aug 25, 2017 Editorial

In the current political climate, bipartisanship can be a rare thing. But it is not extinct. Proof of that was on display this month when Congress passed legislation to expand education opportunities for our veterans. 

The Forever GI Bill as it is commonly known, which I am proud to have cosponsored, will ensure that this critical education benefit will always be there for future generations of veterans. It also just became the law of the land.

Jun 24, 2017 Event

In San Diego there is a sense that veterans are everywhere around us, but have you ever had the chance to hear, firsthand, from someone who has served in a combat role? To hear how that has affected them and how they relate to their family, friends and community differently in some cases after those experiences? 

Dec 16, 2016 In The News

“I woke up inspired to listen today.”

“Thank you so much for this event. My heart is larger from listening to our brave and dedicated veterans.”

These are quotes from two members of the community who had not served in combat and recently attended a special Veterans Town Hall in Balboa Park, sharing their forum experience.

Dec 16, 2016 Editorial

“I woke up inspired to listen today.”

“Thank you so much for this event. My heart is larger from listening to our brave and dedicated veterans.”

These are quotes from two members of the community who had not served in combat and recently attended a special Veterans Town Hall in Balboa Park, sharing their forum experience.

Nov 10, 2016 Event

Congresswoman Susan Davis is extending an invitation to a special Veterans Day Town Hall this Veterans Day weekend in San Diego.

Oct 24, 2016 Press Release

SAN DIEGO, CA – Congresswoman Susan A. Davis (D-San Diego), a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee, released the following statement on reports of the Department of Defense ordering thousands of California National Guard Soldiers to repay enlistment bonuses after signing up to serve in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Oct 6, 2016 Press Release

SAN DIEGO, CA – Congresswoman Susan A. Davis (D-San Diego) and Veterans Village of San Diego (VVSD) announced over $1.4 million in federal grants to help homeless veterans in San Diego. Vietnam Veterans of San Diego will receive the grant money to further their efforts to get homeless veterans off the streets and into financial stability.

May 20, 2016 Press Release

WASHINGTON – The bipartisan McSally-Davis bill to restore the inurnment rights for Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) at Arlington National Cemetery was signed into law. The WASP Arlington Inurnment Restoration (AIR) Act (H.R. 4336) overturns a recent decision by the Secretary of the Army that rescinded inurnment eligibility for WASP pilots.

May 12, 2016 In The News

Women aviators who served during World War II are closer to having the right to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

A bill that makes it possible for members of the Women Airforce Service Program to once again be buried at Arlington, the most prominent of the country's veteran cemeteries, cleared the Senate unanimously on Tuesday with minor amendments. Sens. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, and Barbara Mikulski, D-Maryland, lead the effort.