Chairwoman Wasserman Schultz Statement at Hearing on Quality of Life in the Military

February 7, 2019
Press Release

Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), Chair of the Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcomittee, delivered the following remarks at the Subcomittee's hearing on "Quality of Life in the Military ":

Good morning. I want to welcome everyone to today’s hearing on Military Quality of Life for our servicemembers.

We are all well aware of the vast technological superiority held by our Nation’s military, but the true backbone of the U.S. Armed Forces is formed by the ranks of the enlisted.

The four witnesses at the table are the senior enlisted members of their respective branches and Members should know that we have over 100 years in combined military experience before us today.

This hearing is a great opportunity to identify areas where we can do more to help those who protect us and defend this Nation. It is vital we pay heed to their well-being and guarantee their optimal readiness. 

Additionally, let us not forget that when a servicemember deploys he or she is not the only one making an incredible sacrifice for this nation. Many spouses manage the household by themselves, and in some cases, a relative has to step up and help when both parents are deployed. 

It is therefore vital that we ensure our soldiers’ well-being and address the needs of their families. And while there are positive things to talk about, there are also very serious issues facing the military.

For example, I am concerned about the state of family housing.  The recent Reuters series on family housing paints a dreadful picture of what it is like to live on base. This is a serious issue that I plan to have the subcommittee closely scrutinize.

I am also concerned about our transgender servicemembers because they were told old in 2016, that they would be able to serve openly, however, in 2017 Trump tweeted his intention to ban all transgender people from the military.  This proclamation was made with no information, thought planning, or discussion with military leaders, and I am concerned about how it is affecting morale and readiness.

We also have serious climate change impacts the affecting the functionality of our bases that affect the ability of our servicemembers to do their jobs.

As you can see we have many important issues to discuss. I believe this hearing is a great opportunity to identify those crucial areas where we can do more to serve those who serve us.

And now I would like to recognize Judge Carter for his opening remarks.

116th Congress