Veterans & Military

Every day, we honor the service of our men and women who volunteer to protect our nation, and to their families who unconditionally support them and endure the hardships of the military lifestyle. Maryland is home to nearly 30,000 Active, 16,000 Reserve. These Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen have our utmost respect and appreciation. I will stand with them when they fight on the front lines and when they return to the home front. I remain steadfast in my commitment to provide our Nation’s military with the resources it needs to accomplish its mission, and to provide our military families with the first-class benefits, pay and health care that they deserve.

Maryland is also home to 15 military bases ranging from the U.S. Naval Academy, which trains our future Naval officers, to the Aberdeen Proving Ground, which tests and develops our future military technology. Crossing the state from Patuxent to Fort Detrick, we are proud of the home that we provide to our military and will do everything possible to protect our facilities from any future changes in our national military profile, and ensure continued funding for research and development in our military labs.

To provide for our military families, I have been a staunch advocate for and cosponsored legislation to protect military overseas voting, provide residency relief for spouses when families transfer, expand travel reimbursements for specialty medical care, improve TRICARE coverage for family members with autism, and protect food subsidy entitlements that support the families of junior enlisted service members. The mental health of our service members continues to be a key priority for me. With the continued strains of multiple deployments to a war that has lasted nearly a decade, taking care of our troops should be a primary focus of our armed services. I will continue to advocate for the mental wellness of our troops and their families.

I have urged the Veterans Affairs Administration to address continued delays in processing VA claims at the Baltimore Regional Office. In addition, I encouraged the VA to develop and execute an action plan to address the claims backlog and quality issues, and suggested assigning a senior level official to provide progress reports on plan implementation. The VA has since reduced the number of backlogged claims with the help of the Congressional VA Claims Backlog Working Group, local VA departments, and VSOs such as the VFW. As of June 2016, the VA reported 76,201 remaining backlogged claims, which is down from the over 611,000 in March 2013. I am working to support veterans’ access not just to benefits and health care but to meaningful civilian careers. I have hosted roundtables throughout Maryland with local veteran-owned small business leaders to discuss issues affecting their success in the marketplace.