As you know, I think all Americans feel we have a moral, sacred duty towards our men and women in uniform. They protect our freedom, and it’s our obligation to do right by them. This bill takes another important step in fulfilling that commitment.
I want to thank the members of Congress who helped to make this happen. It is going to have immediate impact. It is going to improve access to health care, streamline services in the VA. It expands support for veterans who are homeless.
There are two parts to the bill, though, that I especially want to highlight. First of all, this bill ends a decade-long struggle for those who serve at Camp Lejeune. Some of the veterans and their families who were based in Camp Lejeune in the years when the water was contaminated will now have access to extended medical care. And, sadly, this act alone will not bring back those we’ve lost, including Jane Ensminger, but it will honor their memory by making a real difference for those who are still suffering.
The second part of this bill that I want to highlight -- prohibit protesting within 300 feet of military funerals during the two hours before and two hours after a service. I supported this step as a senator. I am very pleased to be signing this bill into law. The graves of our veterans are hallowed ground. And obviously we all defend our Constitution and the First Amendment and free speech, but we also believe that when men and women die in the service of their country and are laid to rest, it should be done with the utmost honor and respect.
So I’m glad that Congress passed this bill and I hope that we can continue to do some more good bipartisan work in protecting our veterans. I’ve been advocating, for example, for a veterans job corps that could help provide additional opportunities for the men and women who are coming home as we’re winding down our operations in Afghanistan and having ended the war in Iraq. And so this is a good sign of a bipartisan spirit that I’m sure is going to carry through all the way to Election Day and beyond.
With that, I’m going to sign the bill. Make sure I sign the right place, though.
(The bill is signed.)
There you go. Congratulations, everybody. Good work. Thank you very much.
More about Camp Lejuene
Jul 21, 2012
C.), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs, announced that the Honoring America's Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012, H.R. 1627 a bill that improves services and care for ...
Feb 18, 2010
Newly reported information is now demonstrating that the water at Camp Lejeune NC military base may have been contaminated as a result of a toxic spill. Marines, sailors, their families and other civilian contractors may be ...
May 28, 2011
During June--December 2011, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry will conduct a health survey of persons who resided or worked at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina before 1986 and ...
May 08, 2010
(5) contaminated drinking water at Camp LeJeune, North Carolina; and (6) pollutants from a waste incinerator near the Naval Air Facility (NAF) at Atsugi, Japan. It is imperative that regional office personnel are aware of these ...