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tv   President Biden Signs Veterans Bills  CSPAN  November 30, 2021 2:15pm-2:33pm EST

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morning program, "washington journal," where we hear your voices every day. c-span now has you covered. download the app for free today. >> wednesday, the supreme court hears a case on the constitutionality of a mississippi law banning most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. live coverage of oral argument at 10:00 a.m. eastern on c-span3, online at c-span.org, or watch full coverage on c-span now, our new video app. >> today, president biden signed four bills on veterans' benefits. the legislation dealt with disparities in benefits, tuition for veteran families as well as benefits for mothers who served in the military.
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>> ladies and gentlemen, the president of the united states. accompanied by the vice president of the united states and the secretary of veterans affairs. ♪
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president biden: well, i think it's still morning. good morning, everyone. please — please be seated. i feel like we have a quorum in the house. i miss the quorums. vice president harris, honored guests: i want to thank you all for being here. secretary mcdonough, thank you for your work to ensure that the va provides world-class care and support for those who bore the battle. in a moment, i'm going to have the honor of signing into law four bills that the women and men in this room had -- have written and gotten passed, bipartisan bills to honor one truly sacred obligation we have as a nation. we have many obligations, but we only have one truly sacred obligation, in my view, and that is prepare those we send into harm's way, care for their families when they're gone, and care for them and their families when they're home. and that's a -- that's a lifetime commitment -- a lifetime commitment the nation owes to
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every one of our veterans, and it's one that i embrace as commander-in-chief. for me, for jill, and for the entire biden family, it's also personal. and it's a commitment that we are helping to keep today because of the leadership of the women and men in this room. the first bill i will sign requires the government accounting office to assess whether there are disparities associated with race and ethnicity when it comes to va benefits and disability ratings. the weapons of war and the nature of the injuries they inflict don't differentiate based on race. and the types of disabilities our veterans carry with them don't differentiate based on race. so, the claims approved and the benefits delivered should not differentiate either. we've heard from veterans of color who, upon returning home from their service, are treated differently from white veterans. this bill will help us understand how this happened, keep better records, expose the facts to the light of day, and allow us to do the necessary
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work of making sure that all of our nation's veterans -- all of them -- are treated with equal dignity and equal equality throughout their entire time, with the consideration being no different for -- based on race. and i want to thank and congratulate senator warnock, who is here in the room, who has such a -- has been a moral leader in the u.s. senate since he got here and leading on this issue, as well as representative takano, who has done a yeoman's work in the house. the second bill i'll sign is the hire veterans health heroes act. i want to thank senator hassan and senator braun, and representatives rice and latta for their work to help veterans find a way to continue to serve their country. in 2019, the inspector general of the va reported that staff shortages are one of the causes of the many problems we face in veterans' care. and at the same time, with our military, there are nearly 200,000 dedicated, well-trained workers in nearly every area of
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health care -- doctors, nurses, pharmacists, technicians, and physical therapists. they understand the health challenges our women and men in uniform face. one thousand -- actually, 13,000 of them are separated from active duty every single year. and we can do more by helping the separated service members with backgrounds in healthcare continue their work in healthcare in the federal government at places like the va. this bill directs the department of veterans affairs to create a program to recruit military medical personnel who have less than a year left in their service to work in federal healthcare occupations. this new program will build upon existing efforts to create a pipeline for former military health professionals. for both our veterans and our military medical personnel, service isn't just what they do, it's who they are. this bill is going to allow those professionals to continue their service to each other and to our nation. and the third bill i will sign
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is the colonel john m. mchugh tuition fairness and survivors act. for so many of our service members, their service to us is also about building a better life for themselves and for their families. and part of keeping our commitment to them means helping survivors get the education they need and to fulfill their dreams. this law -- this law ensures that surviving spouses and children of veterans who access the survivors' and dependents' education assistance program are eligible for in-state tuition wherever they choose to go to school, whether they live in that state or not. i want to recognize senator tester and moran, representatives trone and moore for their work they've done on this bill. i also want to recognize a very special guest, kelly mchugh stewart. kelly, where are you? kelly, thank you for being here. thank you for being here. and the -- she is the daughter of colonel john m.
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mchugh. for being here today, i want to thank her. kelly, your dad was an american hero, but he wasn't the only one in the family who is a hero. your work -- your work to share your story, to advocate for other surviving families, and to turn loss into progress and understanding is heroic as well. so, we thank you for it. really, thank you, personally. the final bill i'll sign today is the protecting moms who served act. the senate was -- and this -- and in the senate, it was championed by tammy duckworth, a mom, a veteran, a senator, and senator susan collins. and it also was one of the pet projects that the vice president had when she was a united states senator, and it sticks with her. i don't know how many times i've heard about what we have to do -- and she's ride. in the house, it was championed by a former nurse, representative lauren underwood, and representative bil -- bilirakis. and our country continues to have the highest maternal mortality rates in the
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developed world, which is hard—- it's just -- especially among black and native american women. for many years president -- vice president harris has led the fight to address this tragedy of maternal mortality in our nation. her efforts in the senate are reflected in our build back better framework and our investments in maternal health. we're going to help expand and diversify the maternal health workforce, improve mental -- improve maternal mental health, and bolster community-based programs, train providers, enhance research, and ensure -- ensure maternal care is coordinated. as we continue that work, we recognize that women veterans -- and there are more than half a million women veterans in this country under the age of 40 -- they face additional maternal health challenges. they frequently have other health risks that can complicate pregnancy. for example, expecting moms with physical disabilities or with mental illness are much more likely to experience
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pregnancy-related complications and have their children prematurely. this bill will commission a comprehensive study of maternal health challenges facing veterans and will invest in maternal care coordination programs at the va. it's an important step in making sure we meet the needs of american mothers who have served. earlier this month, i commemorated veterans day at arlington national cemetery. on that solemn day, we lay a wreath and renew our oath. but keeping faith with american veterans requires much more than laying wreaths or making more oaths. it requires acts. that's what you've done today -- all of you -- acts. that's why i'm so proud to sign these bills. may god bless you. and may god protect our troops and their families. and now i'd like to invite the folks to the stage as i sign the first bill. thank you very much.
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thank you. good to see you. ok. i tell y'all, i only have one pen. [laughter] you are all going to get a pen. i only have one with me today. i couldn't figure out how to get 50 of them up here today, but thank you. all right. congratulations. all right. here we go. government accountability office
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study on disparities associated with race and ethnicity with respect to certain benefits administered by the secretary of veterans affairs. [laughter] well, sort of. [applause] ok. thank you, thank you, thank you, everybody. my mother will say, you're doing god's work. thanks. thank you. hey, pat. how are you, buddy? good to see you. big john. you're going to be here all afternoon. love you. how you doing? family good? ok. dennis. hi, everybody. good to see you. all right. ok.
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ok. here we go. you ready? ok. [applause] all right. thank you, thank you, thank you. it means a lot to everybody for what you did. seriously. you should be very proud. you got some great allies. when you have big john tester behind you. [laughter] all right.
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here we go. i am not going to read it all. just sign it. all right. [applause] thank you. thank you, thank you, thank you. keep the faith. all right. ok. going to sign the last bill here in a moment when folks are up here. protecting -- tammy. senator duckworth: mr. president, how are you? president biden: i am good. you did it. hey. it's good to see you, man.
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[inaudible] president biden: now, the last bill, protecting moms who served act of 2021. all right. here we go. [applause] thank you, thank you, thank you. you said you were going to do this. you did it. [inaudible] president biden: how are you? >> i'm good. how are you, mr. president? president biden: i tell you whatever she says i say yes. senator duckworth: we served together when we were lieutenants. president biden: oh, great. ♪
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["god bless america"] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2021] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org]
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>> the house is back at 3:30 eastern time to debate bills on cybersecurity, the opioid epidemic, and h.p.v. vaccines. later in the week, the house is expected to take up legislation to provide short-term government spending. current funding ex-spires friday night -- expires friday night. when the house is back in session, you can find live coverage here on c-span. >> wednesday, the supreme court hears a case on the constitutionality of a mississippi law banning most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. live coverage of oral argument at 10:00 a.m. eastern on c-span3, online at c-span.org, or watch full coverage on c-span now, our new video app. >> at least six presidents recorded conversations while in office. hear many of those conversations on c-span's new podcast
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"presidential recordings." >> season one focuses on the presidency of lyndon johnson. you'll hear about the 1964 civil rights act, the 1964 presidential campaign, the gulf of tonkin incident, the march on salma and the war in vietnam. not everyone knew they were being recorded. >> certainly, johnson's secretaries knew because they were tasked with transcribing many of those conversations. in fact, they were the ones who made sure that the conversations were taped as johnson would signal to them through an open door between his office and theirs. >> you'll also hear some blunt talk. >> jim. >> yes, sir. mr. president johnson: i want to know how many people assigned to president kennedy the day he died and mine.

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