Since my first days in Congress, I have promised to leave no veteran behind and every day I work to fulfill that promise. Our men and women in uniform serve with honor and when they come home, they deserve the best we can offer. Having traveled around western and central Wisconsin and visited Iraq four times and Afghanistan twice, I have heard from a number of Wisconsinites currently serving in our nation’s armed forces. It has become very clear that in these challenging economic times we must do more to provide for the basic needs of our troops and veterans. It is critical that we ensure there is a robust VA medical system available so that Wisconsin’s veterans can get the quality care they earned and deserve.
Last year, serious problems with pain management practices were discovered at the Tomah Veterans Affairs Medical Clinic (VAMC). In March of 2014, the VA Office of Inspector General (OIG) concluded an investigation into allegations of misconduct at the Tomah VAMC. Unfortunately, they failed to notify Congress and did not post the results of their report on their website. In order make sure this never happens in the future, I led the Wisconsin delegation in introducing and passing the bipartisan Inspectors General Transparency Act of 2015. This bill increases government transparency by ensuring that all OIG reports are published on the OIG website and submitted to the head of the establishment under investigation, the individual or entity requesting the investigation, and Congress.
Additionally, one of the recommendations from the OIG investigation was to create a collaborative pain management team, similar to the tumor board model, to better coordinate pain management in very complex cases. Based on this recommendation, I introduced the bipartisan Veterans Pain Management Improvement Act, which would establish a pain management oversight board within each Veterans Integrated Service Network comprised of health care professionals, clinical patients and/or family members of a clinical patient. This legislation will give veteran patients and their families a real role in VA oversight and help ensure the VA provides better care for our veterans.
Veterans History Project
I believe we owe an enormous debt to our men and women in uniform. A great way to show our gratitude is to encourage them to share their memories and experiences. This is why I authored legislation creating the Veterans History Project, which allows veterans and their families to record their stories and preserve them for future generations. These recordings are entered into the permanent collection in the Library of Congress, where they will serve as a permanent reminder of the sacrifices these men and women made defending our country.
For more information concerning work and views related to Veterans issues, please contact our office.
More on Veterans
Washington, D.C. – Today, Rep. Ron Kind voted for the bipartisan Delivering for America Act amid concerns that organizational and operational changes at the United States Postal Service (USPS) have resulted in mail delays across the country, including for seniors, veterans, and rural communities.
La Crosse, WI – Today, Rep. Ron Kind announced that $121 million was included in the recently passed House funding bill to implement pain management reforms included in the Jason Simcakoski PROMISE Act, which Rep. Kind introduced and helped pass into law. The funding will help implement updates to pain management practices within the VA, including strengthening provider education and training and improving patient advocacy. The appropriations package now must pass the Senate before it can be signed into law.
Washington, DC —Tomorrow, Reps. Ron Kind (D-WI), Brian Mast (R-FL), Dan Newhouse (R-WA), and Elise Stefanik (R-NY) will introduce a bipartisan resolution commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Veterans History Project at the Library of Congress, which was created through legislation that Rep. Kind authored in 2000. The Veterans History Project has allowed veterans to record more than 110,000 stories of their firsthand experiences serving our nation and preserved them in the Library of Congress.
Washington, DC— Today, Rep. Ron Kind sent a letter to Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe and Director of the Central Intelligence Agency Gina Haspel requesting a full congressional briefing after several press reports found that Russia offered Afghan militants bounties for killing United States and coalition servicemembers in Afghanistan, and the Administration was aware of this intelligence as far back as 2019.
La Crosse, WI – Today, Rep. Ron Kind announced the three Wisconsin students, whom he nominated, that have accepted offers of appointment at one of the United States’ Service Academies.
La Crosse, WI—Today, Reps. Ron Kind (D-WI) and Mike Kelly (R-PA) sent a letter to Department of Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Internal Revenue Service Commissioner (IRS) Charles Rettig demanding that veterans receiving pension benefits automatically be eligible to receive the individual rebate included in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Guidance issued by the IRS last week has created unnecessary obstacles for hundreds of thousands of veterans who do not have to file annual taxes.
Washington, DC— Today, Rep. Ron Kind released the following statement congratulating Victoria Brahm, director of the Tomah VA Medical Center, on being awarded 2019 Federal Employee of the Year as a Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals Honoree.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Yesterday, Reps. Ron Kind and Mike Gallagher introduced H.Res.483, a resolution recognizing the importance of veteran-to-veteran mentorship programs. Wisconsin has a number of established veteran mentorship programs which work to connect returning service members with veterans who have transitioned back to civilian life. Click here to read the text of the resolution.
Eau Claire – Today, U.S. Rep. Ron Kind released the following statement in advance of the observance of Memorial Day:
“As we come together on Memorial Day, it is important that we pay tribute to the brave Wisconsinites who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms. Today – and every day – we honor their memory, and work to ensure our fallen Servicemembers’ families are supported by our communities,” said Rep. Ron Kind.
Rep. Kind will attend community-wide Memorial Day events in Eau Claire and Eleva.
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Rep. Ron Kind voted in support of the Consumers First Act, which will restore oversight and supervisory checks to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, an agency systematically weakened by the Trump Administration. His statement is below: