News release from Eric Stewart campaign:
Winchester, Tenn. – State Senator and U.S. Congressional Candidate Eric Stewart supports and encourages Congress to pass the Andrew P. Carpenter Act sponsored by Congressman DesJarlais. Stewart supports this bill by DesJarlais, but says DesJarlais and Congress have failed to provide our veterans and active military with the support they need, especially those men and women returning home from war.
“I fully support and encourage Congress to pass the Andrew P. Carpenter Act,” Stewart said. “But, Congress has done little more than talk about supporting our veterans when they return home from war. They have failed our men and women of uniform on more than one occasion. The volunteers that choose to serve this country should have a Congressman that will fight just as hard for them at home, and when they return home, as they have fought for our freedoms and liberties overseas,” Stewart added.
During his two years in Congress, Congressman DesJarlais hasn’t supported our men and women in uniform, rather, he’s voted against bills that would provide them with the support they need when they return home, voted against giving our military a pay raise while protecting his own pay, and he voted to allow big banks to foreclose on the homes of active service members and veterans.
In 2011, DesJarlais voted against an amendment that would have provided $20 million in funding for veterans’ medical support that would help with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and suicide prevention when returning home. [See Source 1 Below]
The Department of Veterans Affairs says PTSD affects 30 percent of Vietnam Veterans, between 11-20 percent of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans and as many as 10 percent of Gulf War veterans. In December of 2011, the senior enlisted advisor to Army Joint Chiefs of Staff reported that from 2005 to 2010, service members took their own lives at a rate of about one every 36 hours, former service members represent 20 percent of suicides in the U.S., and that the Department of Veterans Affairs estimates 18 veterans die by suicide each day. [See Source 2 Below]
Congressional candidate and State Senator Eric Stewart says that PTSD and suicide rates among current service members and veterans could be reduced and addressed if Congressman DesJarlais and other members of Congress would vote to support our men and women of uniform when they return from duty overseas.
“I got to talk to a Marine that was injured in combat during the groundbreaking of The Fisher House in Murfreesboro. This Marine summed up the problems facing our military and veterans very well when he said, ‘we’re winning the war against terrorism overseas, but we’re losing the battle at home taking care of our men and women,'” Stewart said.
“We’re losing more of our military members here at home to suicide than we are overseas,” Stewart said. “When Congressman DesJarlais voted against funding designed to prevent and address suicides and PTSD, he made a vote that fails the men and women that have served their country.”
DesJarlais also voted to allow big banks to foreclose on the homes of active military members, veterans and widows of men and women killed in action. [See Source 3 Below]
“The last thing our troops should have to worry about is whether a bank is going to foreclose on their home while they’re overseas serving our country. Congressman DesJarlais voted against a bill that would require federal departments to provide assistance to veterans and members of the Armed Forces that would prevent banks from foreclosing on the homes of our military men and women. Congressman DesJarlais chose to side with the banks,” Stewart said.
Congressman DesJarlais also voted in favor of allowing airlines to charge veterans baggage fees when they are travelling on military orders, and he even voted against giving the military a pay raise months after he voted to protect his own Congressional pay. [See Source 4 Below]
Stewart wrote in the law in Tennessee, while serving in the State Senate, that prevents protesters from disrupting military funerals. In Congress, Stewart will make sure we live up to the promises we have made to our veterans. [See Source 5 Below]
“Veterans know best what other veterans are facing,” Stewart said. “I will have a veteran on my Congressional staff that can personally relate to other veterans and help them with issues they are dealing with, such as navigating through the processes to receive veterans’ benefits. The veteran on my staff will have veterans’ issues as his or her sole responsibility.”
“I’ll also commit to voting in favor for bills that address the suicide rate and PTSD among our current military members and veterans,” Stewart said. “Our brave men and women need a Congressman that is going to support them every step of the way when they return home.”
Source 1: (Vote on Funding for Addressing Suicide and PTSD: [HR 2055, Vote #417, 6/14/11 The motion failed 184-234.] The $20 million would be put towards better advertising the suicide prevention assistance and support offered to veterans. [Watertown Daily Times, 6/14/11; CQ Floor Vote, 6/14/11]).
Source 2: (Statistics on PTSD and Suicide Rates)
Source 3: (Votes on Allowing Banks to Foreclose:
Vote #173, 3/11/11]; See Also
[March 29, 2011, Vote #197, Motion to H.R. 839, Note: This vote was not on the underlying bill, but rather on the Democratic Motion to Recommit.]).
Source 4: (Stewart’s Bill to Prevent Protesters from Disrupting Military Funerals)
Source 5: (Vote on Allowing Airlines to Charge Baggage Fees: [HR 2553, Vote #610, 7/20/11; The motion failed 187-233.]); (Vote on Denying Military a Pay Raise: [HR 1540, Vote #932, 12/14/11]); (Vote on Protecting Own Congressional Pay: [HR 1255, Vote #223, 4/01/11; Measure Failed 188-237]).