Elizabeth Warren Tuesday released a detailed plan to tackle the needs of the military and veterans that pledges to roll back Trump administration policies that bar transgender troops and to not deport non-citizens who have served in uniform, or their families.
The Massachusetts senator who is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination maintains her first step as president would be to overturn President Donald Trump’s decision to prohibit transgender troops in the military.
“I’ll reverse it on the first day of my presidency,” she says in the plan, insisting “the only thing that should matter when it comes to allowing military personnel to serve is whether or not they can handle the job.”
That also means “providing all medically necessary care related to the health of transgender people” such as transition-related surgery, according her “Keeping Our Promises to Our Service Members, Veterans, and Military Families,” which is being released ahead of Veterans Day.
As for foreigners serving in the U.S. military as a path to citizenship, the plan also says a Warren administration “will make it clear that we will protect veterans and family members of serving military personnel from deportation, and we will review the cases of those who have been deported for possible return to the United States.”
“The Trump administration has taken steps to withdraw deportation protections from military family members, including family of service members deployed in combat overseas,” the plan adds. “And under DoD’s current policies, immigrant troops are being denied citizenship at a rate higher than their civilian counterparts, and applications for naturalization as a result of military service dropped 72 percent between 2017 and 2018. This is a disgrace. It also undermines military readiness.”
The 13-page plan also lays out a comprehensive set of benchmarks aimed at confronting a series of other challenges facing veterans.
They include addressing the record numbers of military and veterans suicides and the notorious backlog in benefit claims at the Department of Veterans Affairs, improving educational and career opportunities for military spouses and personnel transitioning into civilian life and tightening consumer protections against businesses seeking to defraud those who have served in the military.
Warren, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee who has three brothers who served in the military, also promises to make military service more family friendly.
“A Warren administration will continue and expand current policy of weighing basing and force structure decisions to account for quality of life factors in the surrounding communities, including safe living environments, available child care, quality of public schools and employment opportunities and licensing reciprocity for military spouses,” the plan says.
Still, Warren maintains the best way to support veterans is to end American involvement in unnecessary overseas conflicts.
“It’s not fair to our men and women in uniform to ask them to solve problems that don’t have a military solution,” she said in her plan. “A strong military should act as a deterrent so that most of the time, we won’t have to use it.”
“We can honor our veterans by ending these endless wars, reining in our bloated defense budget and reducing the influence of defense contractors at the Pentagon and bringing our troops home responsibly — and then providing our veterans with the benefits they’ve earned,” she added.
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