Hoeven Commemorates 45th Anniversary of U.S. Servicemembers' Return From Vietnam, Pays Tribute to North Dakota Veterans

Senator Outlines Efforts to Strengthen Health Care & Benefits for Veterans

BISMARCK, N.D. – In honor of National Vietnam Veterans Day, Senator John Hoeven today paid tribute to North Dakota’s veterans during an appreciation lunch organized by the Minishoshe-Mandan Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. The event marked the 45th anniversary of the return of U.S. servicemembers from the Vietnam War.

“We must always remember the sacrifices of our servicemembers, especially for those veterans who did not receive the recognition they deserve at the time of their service,” Hoeven said. “Today is about dedicating time to express our gratitude as a nation, honoring both the veterans who returned home from Vietnam as well as those who were lost, while also reinforcing our commitment to fulfill our promises to those who served. As our veterans seek treatment for wounds both seen and unseen, it is vital that they have convenient access to the highest quality health care services, staff and facilities. We worked hard to ensure the recent funding legislation gives our veterans the support they deserve, and we will continue working to strengthen the services offered by the VA, whether it’s through federal facilities or local health care providers.”

As part of today’s event, Hoeven outlined his recent efforts to strengthen the health care and benefits available to veterans through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, Hoeven worked to secure strong support for the VA in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 funding legislation, which was signed into law earlier this month. 

This includes funding for medical care offered both at VA facilities and through community providers under the Veterans Choice Program. This dovetails with Hoeven’s ongoing work with the VA to design the next phase of the program and build on the success on the Veterans Care Coordination initiative at the Fargo VA Health Center, which has significantly reduced wait times for veterans seeking appointments in their local communities. The senator is also working to pass into law his Veterans Access to Long Term Care and Health Services Act to enable veterans to receive long-term care and health care services closer to home.

In addition, Hoeven has helped pass legislation over the past year to improve services for veterans and bring greater accountability to the VA. Since the start of the 115th Congress, the following bills have been signed into law to benefit veterans:

  • Accountability at the VA – The Hoeven-cosponsored legislation gives the VA Secretary the necessary tools to address poor performance and misconduct by VA employees, while also establishing safeguards to protect whistleblowers.
  • Modernizing the VA Claims and Appeals Process – Hoeven cosponsored legislation to update and improve the benefit claims appeals process at the VA. This reduces the wait times for veterans who are not satisfied with the VA’s initial decision on their benefits claims.
  • G.I. Bill Education Benefits – This legislation expands G.I. bill benefits and includes a measure Hoeven worked to secure that makes Guard members mobilized under domestic, pre-planned operations, like the North Dakota Army National Guard’s support for Operation Noble Eagle, eligible for education benefits.