Today, nearly 22 million Americans hold the distinguished title of Veteran, and more than 127,000 of those individuals live in our great State of Maine. As the daughter of a World War II Purple Heart recipient, Senator Collins learned first-hand of the sacrifice that these heroes and their families make to advance the cause of freedom. Fighting on behalf of our nation’s Veterans, Senator Collins has worked to support the needs of Veterans nationwide by protecting access to rural health care, holding the Department of Veterans Affairs accountable in the wake of scandal, and expediting the process for disabled veterans to get the services they need.

Weekly Column: Preserving Our Veterans’ Local Access to Health Care

At the height of a terrible winter storm in Aroostook County in January 2014, veteran Peter Miesburger suffered a broken hip that required emergency surgery.  Prior to the implementation of a pilot program known as Access Received Closer to Home (ARCH), his injury would have necessitated an eight hour, 500-mile roundtrip drive to the Togus VA Medical Center in Augusta.  Instead of enduring this painful and bumpy ride, he was able to receive care at his local hospital, Cary Medical Center in Caribou, through the ARCH program and successfully recuperate closer to his family and friends. 

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Senator Collins to top VA Officials: ARCH Program Should be the Model for the Nation

U.S. Senator Susan Collins, a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, pressed Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Robert McDonald this morning on the future of the Access Received Closer to Home (ARCH) program.  Senator Collins has consistently urged the VA to articulate a clear vision for the future of this critically important program and work to ensure that all veterans have the choice of receiving the health care they need close to home and their families.  Secretary McDonald testified at a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing on the VA’s budget request for fiscal years (FY) 2017 and 2018. 

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A Year in Review

As we turn the page on 2015 and look to the future, I welcome this opportunity to share some of the accomplishments of the past year.  Although much work remains to be done, I was able to achieve progress on issues that matter to the people of Maine, whom I am honored to represent in the United States Senate.

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A Cherished American Tradition

At this special time of year, we are especially grateful to the brave men and women in our nation’s armed forces and to our veterans.  We are grateful for their courage, devotion to duty, and sacrifice.  And we give thanks to their families and loved ones, for they too sacrifice

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Senator Collins Speaks from the Senate Floor: Senate Approves Critical Funding for Veterans’ Programs and Military Construction Projects

The bill contains nearly $80 billion in funding, which represents an increase of more than $1 billion above the President’s FY 2016 budget request.  It also reflects bipartisan compromise and a commitment, on the eve of Veterans’ Day, to ensure that Congress funds programs and priorities that support veterans, our troops, and their families.

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Honoring our Veterans

On Oct. 31, the Navy’s newest destroyer, the USS Rafael Peralta, was christened at Bath Iron Works.  The story of the namesake of the United States Navy’s newest Maine-built destroyer would be inspiring at any time.  On Veterans Day, it is an especially powerful reminder of the qualities that unite all who have served our country throughout our history.
 

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Senator Collins’ Statement in Remembrance of 9/11

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Susan Collins released the following statement in remembrance of September 11, 2001:

“Fourteen years ago, our nation was stunned by the terrorist attacks that took the lives of nearly 3,000 people in our country.  We will never forget those who perished that day, nor will we waver in our defense of the American way of life.

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A Nation Built On Service

The American spirit was born on July 4th, 1776, when 56 patriots gathered in Philadelphia.  The Declaration of Independence they had crafted with care and forged by vigorous debate was considered an act of high treason against a king.  At the same time, it was an act of supreme loyalty to the highest aspirations of mankind – the unalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

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Bill To Improve Health Care Access For Rural Veterans Passes The Senate

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Access to Community Care for Veterans Act of 2015, legislation co-sponsored by U.S. Senators Susan Collins and Angus King, passed the United States Senate today by unanimous consent. This legislation would require the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to expand eligibility of the Choice Program to cover veterans who reside more than 40 miles driving distance from the closest VA facility that offers the specific care they need. The bill must now be considered and passed by the House of Representatives before it can be sent to the President.

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Honoring Our Heroes

More than a century and a half ago, as our nation faced its gravest crisis during the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln spoke of the “mystic cords of memory, stretching from every patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land.’’

From the founding of our great nation to the conflicts of today, the men and women of our armed forces strengthen those mystic cords. From generation to generation, they add new and everlasting strands of valor, devotion to duty, and sacrifice.

 

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“Wreaths Across America”

In this season of giving, our thoughts turn to those who have given us the most precious gift of all: our freedom.  We Mainers can be proud that an inspiring and generous expression of America’s gratitude began right here in our state.

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“Honoring Our Veterans Every Day”

Throughout our nation’s history, our citizens have left the safety of home to preserve our freedom and to extend the blessings of freedom to others.  Each year, as we did recently, Americans pause on Veterans Day to honor these brave men and women for their duty, honor, and sacrifice.
 

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