- Participated in Largest Vietnam Veterans Honor Flight to Nation’s Capital: Senator Fischer joined more than 650 Vietnam veterans from Nebraska for their honor flight to Washington, D.C. Fischer flew with the veterans from Omaha Eppley Airfield to Reagan National Airport. She also delivered remarks at a ceremony the night before the flight celebrating the veterans’ service. Click here to view more photos from the honor flight.
- Helping Veterans Cope with Invisible Scars of War Through the Support of Service Dogs: Senators Deb Fischer and Cory Booker (D-N.J.) reintroduced bipartisan legislation to help service members suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The bill, known as the Puppies Assisting Wounded Servicemembers (PAWS) Act, would improve the quality of life for veterans suffering from PTSD by providing them with access to service dogs. The PAWS Act directs the VA to implement a five-year pilot program to provide service dogs to veterans who were diagnosed with, and continue to suffer from, PTSD. Under the pilot program, the VA would connect veterans with eligible organizations that train service dogs and provide a grant to the organizations on behalf of the veteran for a service dog pairing. Veterans would also receive follow-up support from the service dog provider for the rest of the dog’s life.
- Thanked Nebraska Soldiers Serving Far From Home: Senator Fischer spent Thanksgiving Day visiting with members of the Nebraska National Guard stationed at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. She also received mission briefs from Admiral Tidd, the USSOUTHCOM Commander, and Rear Admiral Cashman, the Joint Task Force Guantanamo Commander.
- Introduced Legislation to Provide Assistance for Gold Star Families: In November, Senator Fischer introduced the Gold Star Family Support and Installation Access Act of 2017 in the Senate. The bill would increase support for Gold Star families by creating a standardized policy so these families can more easily access military facilities and certain benefits. Representative Don Bacon (NE-02) introduced the legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Championed the CHIP IN for Vets Act to Allow Communities to Help with Planning and Construction of VA Projects: Senator Fischer sponsored the Senate version of the CHIP IN for Vets Act, which was signed into law in December 2016. The bill allows communities to take the lead and manage the construction of VA projects, contribute the remaining finances, and ensure these projects are completed on time and on budget. It set up a pilot program to test this new model of construction with five initial projects. Omaha, Nebraska is the first community in the country to use this model.
- Urged Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary to Take Action on the Redevelopment of the Lincoln VA Campus: Senator Fischer sent a letter to VA Secretary Robert McDonald regarding the development of the Lincoln, Nebraska, VA campus. In the letter, she called on the secretary to work with stakeholders to resolve the problems that are preventing the redevelopment of the Lincoln VA campus. Following Senator Fischer’s request, the VA held a meeting with stakeholders to further discuss the project.
- Launched Initiative to Honor Nebraska’s Fallen Veterans on the U.S. Senate Floor: According to the Nebraska Department of Veterans Affairs, there are 77 Nebraskans who lost their lives in combat-related incidents in Iraq and Afghanistan. Senator Fischer devotes time on the Senate floor to remember the lives of these Nebraska heroes. Click the links below to watch each of Senator Fischer’s tributes:
- Sergeant Josh Ford of Pender, Nebraska
- Sergeant Jeffery Hansen of Cairo, Nebraska
- Lieutenant Jacob Fritz of Verdon, Nebraska
- Army Captain Rob Yllescas of Osceola, Nebraska
- Master Sergeant Linda Tarango-Griess of Sutton, Nebraska
- Corporal Adrian Robles of Scottsbluff, Nebraska
- Sergeant Joshua Robinson of Hastings, Nebraska
- Sergeant Germaine Debro of Omaha, Nebraska
Army Corporal Matthew Alexander of Gretna, Nebraska
Specialist William Bailey of Bellevue, Nebraska
- Introduced Legislation to Ensure Veteran Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Employees Have Access to Sick Leave: Senator Fischer joined Senator Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) to introduce legislation that will update current law and apply it to disabled veteran employees at the FAA. This law already grants paid leave to veteran federal employees at other government agencies. Through this bipartisan legislation, disabled veteran employees at the FAA would be able to access sick leave while receiving treatment for injuries they sustained serving our country. The legislation was also included as an amendment in the Senate Federal Aviation Reauthorization Act.
Created a New Commercial Driver Pilot Program for Young Veterans. The young men and women of our military have acquired important skills and training through their service overseas. Under a new program Senator Fischer championed in the highway bill, returning service members age 18-21 who hold a commercial driver’s license can drive commercial trucks across state lines. Forty-nine states already permit drivers under the age of 21 to operate commercial vehicles within their borders. This is a common-sense approach to allow these commercial drivers to deliver goods, for example, from Omaha to Council Bluffs.
Urged Improvements to Veterans Choice Program: Senator Fischer joined a bipartisan group of senators in sending a letter to the Department of Veterans Affairs, which called for improvements to the Veterans Choice Program. The senators conveyed their concerns regarding reduced funding for the program, as well as the department’s implementation of the “40-mile rule,” which is inconveniencing veterans across Nebraska.
Voted for Veterans Suicide Prevention Bill: Senator Fischer voted for The Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act. The bill, which was signed into law on February 12, 2015, sets up important procedures to protect our veterans and give them the proper care to prevent suicide.
Introduced the PAWS Act to Help Veterans with PTSD: Senator Fischer joined Senator Cory Booker (D-N.J) to introduce the Puppies Assisting Wounded Servicemembers (PAWS) Act. The bill directs the VA, through its Office of Patient Centered Care and Cultural Transformation, to implement a five-year pilot program to provide veterans with service dogs and veterinary health insurance.
- Committed to finding jobs for veterans: Senator Fischer is an original cosponsor of the Hire More Heroes Act of 2014 (S. 2190). The bill fosters job opportunities for those who have dutifully served our country by removing one of the burdensome requirements of ObamaCare preventing small businesses from hiring. This legislation provides a reprieve for job creators hurting under ObamaCare while also helping to ease the transition of our men and women in uniform back to civilian life.
- Voted for VA reforms: Senator Fischer voted for the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act of 2014 (S.2450) to make needed changes to our veterans’ healthcare system. In response to shocking reports of VA employees failing to do their jobs while our nation’s heroes waited for care, Congress united to pass needed reforms. One critical change in the law allows veterans to receive care from private doctors if they live more than 40 miles away from a VA facility, or if agency doctors cannot see them within 30 days. Importantly, the bill grants the VA Secretary power to fire employees who fail to perform their duties. It also authorizes funding for leases to use medical facilities at 27 existing sites around the country, including an outpatient clinic in Lincoln.
- Worked to hold VA accountable, ban bonuses for poor performance: Senators Fischer and Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, introduced legislation to prohibit the payment of bonuses to employees at the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) through Fiscal Year 2015. The VHA, which manages medical centers across the country, was under investigation for placing veterans on “secret wait lists” to allegedly hide the true number of veterans waiting for care for more than two weeks. Reports suggest dozens of veterans across the nation died while waiting for VHA-provided care.