WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill voted last night to confirm President Trump’s nominee Robert Wilke as Secretary of Veterans Affairs (VA). Earlier this month, McCaskill met with Wilkie to discuss their shared opposition to large-scale privatization of the VA and secure his commitment to swift implementation of McCaskill’s Arla Harrell Act.
“When it comes to protecting and serving our veterans, I’m proud to have worked to find common ground with the Administration to ensure World War II veterans exposed to mustard gas get the benefits they’re owed, and to expand critical benefits for veterans all across my state,” said McCaskill, the daughter of a World War II veteran. “I’ve supported both of the President’s nominees to lead the VA and look forward to working with Secretary Wilkie to ensure the Arla Harrell Act is completely implemented and ensure that growing efforts to privatize the VA, against the wishes of most veterans, aren’t successful.”
McCaskill, a longtime advocate for veterans, led the charge for the Arla Harrell Act, which was signed into law by President Trump last year and provides relief to veterans who were exposed to mustard gas during World War II. Since passage, nearly $1 million in previously denied claims were awarded to World War II veterans who had been intentionally exposed to mustard gas.
McCaskill also supported the VA Mission Act, which expanded critical caregiver benefits from post-9/11 veterans to all veterans, and replaced the Veterans Choice Program with a new community care program that puts veterans and their doctors at the center of the decision about where they receive health care—while fighting against efforts to fully privatize the VA.
With improving care for veterans a priority of her work—McCaskill has led efforts to increase accountability and quality of veterans services. McCaskill has also pushed to address medical workforce shortages at the VA by eliminating red tape that hinders reform and impacts care, and helps create initiatives to better leverage the VA workforces. Additionally, McCaskill’s successful “secret shopper” Veterans’ Customer Satisfaction Program allows veterans to share timely, confidential feedback about their VA health care visits, and helps provide oversight and accountability for VA health care facilities.
Visit mccaskill.senate.gov/veterans to learn more about McCaskill’s fight for military veterans.