At the beginning of his first year in Congress, Mike was appointed to the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, and currently serves as the Chair of the Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity. As the Chair of this Subcommittee, Mike has had the unique opportunity to have introduced and passed nine bipartisan pieces of legislation to help our veterans, one of the most among Freshmen, and an additional four bills that have been signed into law by the President.
Mike is proud to represent Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, and the community of servicemembers, veterans, and their families here in the 49th District. Mike has been a strong advocate for improving access to the invaluable and unique resources provided by the VA and will continue to fight against privatization efforts. Mike believes that we owe it to the men, women, and their families who have the honor and courage to serve our country to guarantee the absolute best care and services.
Ensuring safe and quality housing for our veterans and their families has been one of Mike’s top priorities. Mike strongly believes that even one homeless veteran is one too many, and he’ll work tirelessly until veteran homelessness is an issue of the past. No one who sacrifices so much to serve our country should ever have to worry about having a place to live.
During his first term, Mike has:
- Served on the Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Health and has been serving as Chair of the Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity.
- Successfully advocated for the $146 million in funding for Camp Pendleton in the 2020 appropriations process, including $71.7 million for a new mess hall and warehouse, $17.7 million for an ambulatory care center and dental clinic replacement, and $38.87 million for the I Marine Expeditionary Force consolidated information center, which is located here in the 49th District.
- Successfully advocated for an additional $105 million in funding for Camp Pendleton as a part of the NDAA for fiscal year 2021.
- Successfully advocated during the appropriations process for $222 million in funding provided for veterans suicide prevention.
- Co-sponsored the Repatriate Our Patriots Act, to prevent the deportation of veterans who have honorably served in our Armed Forces.
- Passed a bipartisan amendment as part of the Moving Forward Act, which would provide nearly $3.4 billion for infrastructure upgrades to VA facilities and help support service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses.
- Although the rate of male homeless veterans has stabilized, the number of female veterans experiencing homelessness has continued to increase. Mike introduced the Housing for Women Veterans Act to ensure funding for organizations that provide housing for women veterans and their families, and it recently passed the House as part of the Deborah Sampson Act.
Mike has introduced 19 bipartisan bills to support our veterans and their families. Nine of these bills have passed the House, and an additional four bills have already been signed into law by the President.
Mike introduced the following bipartisan bills during his first term that have been signed into law:
- To improve the VA’s Specially Adapted Housing program, Mike introduced The Ryan Kules and Paul Benne Specially Adaptive Housing Improvement Act of 2019.
- To help maintain liquidity in the veteran home loan market, Mike introduced the Protect Affordable Mortgages for Veterans Act, which was signed into law in 2019.
- To expand the list of orders that qualify for residential lease termination to include a stop movement order issued by the Department of Defense in response to a local, national, or global emergency, Mike introduced an amendment to the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA).
- To expand veterans’ access to STEM scholarship programs, Mike introduced H.R. 2196 which was signed into law in 2019.
Mike introduced the following bipartisan bills during his first term that have passed the House:
- To prioritize and assist economic programs at the VA, Mike introduced the Veterans’ Education, Transition, and Opportunity Prioritization Plan (VET OPP) Act.
- To improve the Transition Assistance Program for servicemembers returning to civilian life, Mike introduced the Navy SEAL Chief Petty Officer William “Bill” Mulder (Ret.) Transition Improvement Act.
- To expand eligibility to receive counseling from VA Vet Centers, Mike introduced the Vet Center Eligibility Expansion Act.
- To direct a portion of VA homelessness funding to women veterans, Mike introduced the Housing for Women Veterans Act, which passed as part of the Deborah Sampson Act.
- To strengthen the Transition Assistance Program (TAP) by improving counseling pathways for servicemembers returning to civilian life, Mike introduced H.R. 7542, which passed the House as part of the Fiscal Year 2021 NDAA.
- To strengthen protections against predatory, for-profit schools, Mike introduced the Protect the GI Bill Act.
- To expand HUD-VASH eligibility to veterans with Other Than Honorable discharges, Mike introduced the Veteran HOUSE Act.
- To expand Fry Scholarship eligibility, Mike introduced the Fry Scholarship Improvement Act, which passed the House as part of the Ryan Kules Specially Adaptive Housing Improvement Act.
- And Mike introduced the Invest in Veterans Act, which passed the House as part of the Moving Forward Act, and invests nearly $3.4 billion in Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) infrastructure.
Additionally, Mike introduced the following bills into the House during his first term:
- To create a rapid retraining program to provide unemployed veterans and reservists with 12 months of educational benefits to pursue training in high-demand occupations, Mike introduced the Veterans Economic Recovery Act of 2020.
- To require VA to provide transparency to individuals filing tort claims against the department, Mike introduced the Brian Tally VA Employment Transparency Act.
- To provide veterans with electronic certificates of eligibility showing their GI Bill Entitlement, Mike introduced the Streamlining GI Bill Processing Act.
- To provide grants to support the work of County Veterans Service Officers, Mike introduced the Commitment to Veteran Support and Outreach Act.
- To expand and strengthen Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) services for homeless veterans during the COVID-19 pandemic, Mike introduced the Homeless Veteran Coronavirus Response Act.
- To provide GI Bill benefit parity for members of the Guard and Reserve, Mike introduced the Guard and Reserve GI Bill Parity Act of 2020.