Congress, Senate, Congressman Michael Waltz discussed on PM Tampa Bay with Ryan Gorman
Ryan Gorman with me this evening, James Berland er on the board and joining me on the hotline right now Congressman Michael Waltz representing Florida's six district. He's also the first Green Beret to serve in Congress. And he's leading up the My front line to yours Campaign campaign aimed at raising awareness on mental health issues and aiding and suicide prevention for veterans. And all of the front line health care workers affected by the covert 19 pandemic is also behind the push for a bill that will expand veterans access to mental health services. Congressman Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us about these really important issues this evening. Thank you So much for your services. Well, let me start with your background because as I was reading about your service to this country, it's incredible. You started out at the Virginia Military Institute spent a ton of time in the Army. A little bit about that. And what led you to serve graduate Of'em I which means means I spent four years getting that's not kicked out of me. Before before becoming an officer in the R V and eventually becoming a ranger and a green beret. I just 24 years. I'm still serving actually in the National Guard is a colonel and I were almost positive that I'm the only member of Congress still jumping out of a perfectly good airplane on the weekend. On manual training. But look at what I've bought from that account to Afghan and for this republic, and it's truly an honor Now to be serving it on ankle member of Congress, you know along those lines, two things one We've gone from a record high in the 1978% of the Congress were veterans of the Senate House representative today, you know is it 18% record low in our nation's history? And what matters much? It's not too much, you know that Of course, we have a deeper understanding of foreign policy and military veterans issue. Ah, look on both sides of the aisle and more along the lines of the ethos that we bring, you know, in the foxhole, the plane, the ship. It is about mission. It's about country. It's not getting the job done for America, and nobody cares about political party a race religion, socio economic background if that mission mindset And I think we've really got away from that in our politics, and I'm determined to get back for that. One of the reasons I ran and then supporting veterans running and co founded a caucus hold for country. Because we're four country and it's Republicans and Democrats with that mind set. That's one piece the other night we get, Are you Back to that service my net and I'm pushing National service legislation along those lines. One thing I've mentioned quite a bit in the past is that it's certainly seems like the unintended consequences of these wars have caused some real problems for members of the military and veterans, and one of them is the mental help toll it's taking on those who currently serve or have served and their families. And the need for help was far more than what we were capable of handling. And we're still to this day struggling to meet that need that seems to be one of the issues that you're trying to address with my front line to yours. Well, that's absolutely right. It's not just about supporting the veterans and their going downrange and you know, we have an all volunteer service now, like everybody who's standing out knows they're likely to go downrange in combat at some point How do we then support them when they come home? And you know my my frustration, But one of my missions in Congress is dealing with the veteran suicide issue, and we have been hovering around 22 22 veterans per day per day. That are taking their own lives and that that's just unsustainable and number one number two. Pouring money at the problem isn't solving it because the Department of Veterans Affairs has gone for five years. Of about 45 million in the year 2215 billion today, right so more than quadrupled, and yet we have the same poor results. The legislation that you look, I think we need to broaden the aperture into wait. And and expand the pipes of healthy veterans are getting one insider. The A provider need to have more toys, not Jeff opioids and not just basic counseling. But Gorgeous dog. Uh, non traditional, like hyperbaric chamber, even medicinal marijuana. They need to have that full choice And then separately. We need to go outside of the system. And the legislation that we're pushing organizations like Mission Roll Call is pushing those money down to the community level where veterans Service organizations are Or interacting with veterans at their home, but their level day in and day out, not a massive government bureaucracy in Washington. I think what those two things we really can make a difference. I'm joined by Congressman Michael Waltz from Florida's six district. We're talking about the my front lines Years initiative. It's a campaign aimed at raising awareness on mental health issues and aiding and suicide prevention for veterans and front line. Health care. Workers affected by the covert 19 pandemic will get to that part in a second. I want to talk about this Senate Bill 7 85. It's past the Senate's in the Houses court. Now this This seems like a bipartisan bill. I looked at the 53 co sponsors in the Senate. This certainly seems like something that will pass in the house and go to the president's desk. Just explain a little bit about the legislation. Well, we're actually running into Ah, a little bit of a wall in the house. It is frustrating, but it essentially provides grant down to the community service organization. And down to the veteran service organization rather than continuing the poor. Ah, money into the D A. I don't mean to make it seem good eater or broaden me. You know, I think that we need to broaden the active point better and have for help not get driving. You know, a couple of hours to a hospital where often they're overwhelmed. You wait too long. You don't get the care you need No, I think we need to broaden the actress pointed the path through the house. I'm excusing it passed through the Senate..