January 12, 2023

Ranking Member Mark Takano Announces Veterans Priorities for the 118th Congress

Press Contact

Miguel R. Salazar (202) 779-1486

WASHINGTON D.C. – Today, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Ranking Member Mark Takano (D-Calif.) announced his priorities for the 118th Congress. These priorities continue to concentrate on the gains made throughout the 116th and 117th Congresses and House Democrats’ commitment to delivering results for America’s veterans.

“As the new Republican Majority finds itself mired by intraparty squabbles, House Democrats are united in our commitment to ensuring we continue to do more for veterans than say ‘thank you for your service.’” said Ranking Member Takano.

Takano continued, “This Congress will be about sharp contrast. Democrats will fight to protect progress made during the past four years for America’s veterans. We will reject Republican efforts to privatize VA and strip away healthcare and benefits for veterans, prioritize big tech profits over veterans' care, gut social safety net programs and resources for underserved veterans, hollow out VA’s rural infrastructure, and ignore the contributions of women veterans by restricting their reproductive freedom.”

Significant achievements made for veterans under Mark Takano’s leadership as Chairman of the Veterans’ Affairs committee from 2019 to 2022 included efforts to:

Reflecting on this success, Ranking Member Takano added, “This Committee championed numerous bills that have become law, and I am proud of the bipartisan work we did under a Democratic-led Congress. I will not stand by and allow Republicans to dismantle these accomplishments.”


Below is a list of Ranking Member Takano’s chief veterans policy priorities for the 118th Congress: 

  • Oppose efforts to cut over $27 billion in VA funding, including funding for the 3.5 million newly eligible toxic-exposed veterans: The Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Democrats will not renege on our promise to toxic-exposed veterans and will hold the line against Republican efforts to strip funding for PACT Act benefits and healthcare. Already, this Republican Majority has announced its intention to return to FY 22 funding levels, which would cut more than $22 billion for veterans’ healthcare, benefits, and other programs and eliminate $5 billion in funding for implementation of the PACT Act.  Sabotaging VA funding just as millions of newly eligible toxic exposed veterans are preparing to enter the system doesn’t just set VA up for failure; it’s morally reprehensible.
  • Preserve women veterans' freedoms: Women veterans fought for our freedom. They deserve our nation’s gratitude and appreciation, but they also deserve access to the comprehensive health care and benefits they’ve earned – including reproductive healthcare. Committee Democrats will continue their fight to preserve the freedom and rights of women veterans in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision. Last year, the Committee published a Democratic staff report, which summarized key findings from the Committee’s reproductive healthcare oversight initiative and recommended actions for VA leaders and policymakers to expand and strengthen veterans’ access to reproductive healthcare.
  • Deliver a VA for all veterans: Committee Democrats will continue their efforts to ensure VA fosters a welcoming environment for all who have served. This includes continuing to examine how VA has historically distributed benefits to minority, LGBTQ+, and other populations of veterans; working to rectify decades-long discrimination and gender disparities. Committee Democrats will also continue to push for better healthcare and handling of disability benefit determinations for veterans filing claims related to Military Sexual Trauma (MST). 
  • Modernize VA care for the next generation of veterans: VA must invest in veterans, not big tech companies. VA has received very little return on investment for the billions of dollars spent on IT efforts like the Electronic Health Record Modernization (EHRM) program. Committee Democrats will continue their extensive oversight of VA contracting to ensure that VA employees and veterans are getting what they were promised. Modernization of VA infrastructure for current and future veterans is a necessity – not an option – and companies profiting from VA must be held accountable.
  • Ensure no veteran is forgotten: Committee Democrats will continue their fight to ensure no veteran falls through the cracks by bolstering the social safety net and working to address inequities for veterans in underserved communities, including Native veterans, rural veterans, homeless veterans, and deported veterans.  
  • Ending veteran homelessness and food insecurity: No veteran should be without a safe and stable place to call home, and Committee Democrats are committed to ensuring VA resources and services that have led to an over 50% reduction in veteran homelessness since 2010 are protected. This includes taking steps to preserve proven “housing first” principles and supportive services, which are key in the fight to preventing and ending veteran homelessness. Access to stable, nutritious food resources is critical to ensuring veteran health and well-being, and Committee Democrats will protect programs that promote food security for American families.
  • Ensure benefits parity for America’s veterans: Committee members will continue working to advance parity for members of the National Guard and Reserve and quality education for student veterans.
  • Reject Republican efforts to privatize VA: Committee members will relentlessly push back against Republican efforts to privatize VA healthcare, undercut its infrastructure, and reduce services for veterans. Peddling false promises that private healthcare providers alone can fill the healthcare gap for veterans must stop. House Democrats will pursue real solutions that provide quality VA healthcare to all veterans, regardless of where they live to ensure their needs are addressed.
  • Conduct critical oversight and implementation of suicide prevention and toxic exposure bills: With the passage of sweeping mental health bills and comprehensive toxic exposure legislation in the 116th and 117th Congress’, House Democrats will continue to push for effective implementation and ensure proper oversight of these provisions.
  • Empower VA to fulfill its Fourth Mission capabilities: Serving as the federal backstop for our country’s healthcare systems, VA has been a prominent leader in the federal response to the pandemic and the growing number of extreme weather events across the country. As VA is set to gain a greater role in national and global health security efforts, we must ensure VA is adequately resourced to take on this larger role in the National Disaster Medical System.