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Dear Fellow New Mexican,

Earlier today, I spoke on the Senate floor in support of what was perhaps the most significant veterans’ legislation to come before Congress in many years. The bill, the Comprehensive Veterans Health and Benefits and Military Retirement Pay Restoration Act, would improve VA health care and dental care, expand educational opportunities, address the VA disability claims backlog, and help veterans find jobs.  Watch my speech here >>

However, I’m deeply disappointed that the bill failed by a partisan vote.

Many of the same Senators who are arguing today that we cannot restore full military retirement benefits without finding a budget offset were completely willing to support the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq without ever once seeking to pay for them.

Like most New Mexicans, I am frustrated that political gridlock is getting in the way of what should be a bipartisan priority: taking care of our nation’s veterans. As your U.S. Senator, one of my most important responsibilities is to ensure that our veterans and their families receive the benefits and quality health care they were promised, which is why I’ll keep fighting.

The tradition of answering the call of duty runs deep in New Mexico’s history, which has one of the highest rates of military volunteerism in the country.  I was proud to secure a key provision in the bill to help accelerate the veterans disabilities claims process and reduce the backlog. I also fought to guarantee that veterans receive uninterrupted access to earned benefits even in the midst of a government shutdown, like the one that occurred last fall.

Despite our differences, these are all issues that both parties can and should come together on and find common ground. It’s critical that we continue to cut our spending, but we must do it responsibly. Balancing the budget on the backs of our veterans and their families is not an option.

If you are a veteran or a beneficiary who is experiencing trouble filing a claim, receiving benefits, accessing health benefits, or appealing an outcome, I urge you to contact my office anytime for assistance or visit the Veterans Resources page on my website.

It is an honor and privilege to serve you in the United States Senate.

Be well, and please keep in touch.

Sincerely,

Signature

MARTIN HEINRICH
United States Senator

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