Honoring our Veterans
In the 117th Congress, Ted will continue to champion legislation on behalf of veterans and meet regularly with local veterans, health care providers, caregivers, and advocates in Palm Beach and Broward counties to keep abreast of their concerns. Ted credits his father, a veteran of World War II who earned a Purple Heart in the Battle of the Bulge, with instilling in him a lifelong reverence for America’s veterans. Ted considers one of his greatest honors as a Member of Congress to be representing and advocating for the more than 60,000 veterans who call Florida’s 21stdistrict home.
Ted successfully passed legislation during the 113th Congress to authorize the recognition of veterans who may have been overlooked for the Medal of Honor due to prejudice towards their Jewish, Hispanic, or minority heritage. These extraordinary veterans were identified during a review of Pentagon records that began in 2002 thanks to the advocacy of Mr. Mitch Libman, a South Florida resident who spent decades working to ensure his friend, the late Private First Class Leonard Kravitz, received the Medal of Honor he earned in the Korean War. Private Kravitz received the Distinguished Service Cross and was recommended for the Medal of Honor after he stayed behind to man a machine gunner during an ambush of Communist forces and sacrificed his life so that his fellow soldiers could escape to safety. Ted’s passage of the amended National Defense Authorization Act of 2013 culminated in a March 18, 2014 White House ceremony in which President Obama presented the Medal of Honor to 24 veterans, including Private First Class Leonard Kravitz, whose extraordinary service went unrecognized for far too long.
Later in 2014, when fraud and abuse at the Department of Veterans Affairs was revealed to have jeopardized veterans’ access to care, Ted held a joint emergency meeting of his Palm Beach County and Broward County Veterans Advisory Councils to update local veterans, health care professionals, advocates, and elected officials on the investigation and collect ideas for reform. In Washington, he joined a majority of his colleagues to pass the bipartisan Veterans’ Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014 to ramp up the hiring of new doctors, nurses, therapists, and other health care professionals, open new facilities in under-served communities, and allow veterans facing long waiting lists to secure care at community health centers, private clinics, and other locations.
In April 2016, the House of Representatives unanimously passed The Preventing Crimes Against Veterans Act (H.R. 4676), authored by Congressman Ted Deutch (D-FL) and Congressman Tom Rooney (R-FL).
Ted will continue to support numerous pieces of legislation in the 117th Congress on behalf of our veterans, including measures to improve mental health care services, help homeless veterans get back on their feet, and protect the financial security of veterans and their families. In addition, as a senior member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, he will continue to promote a foreign policy that is strong, smart, and respects the sacrifices of our men and women in uniform.