(CN) – Ahead of the Veterans Day holiday, Democratic presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren released a new plan to take care of U.S. servicemembers. This plan is personal for her, she said: Three of her brothers served.
“Parades and salutes to the troops are important ways that Americans express their gratitude, but they’re only platitudes if they’re not backed up with meaningful action and policies that support our military both during and after service — not just on Veterans Day, but every day,” the Massachusetts senator wrote in her latest online policy announcement.
Warren said her first focus will be to take care when considering deploying troops abroad, citing the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that have stretched nearly two decades, killed more than 7,000 U.S. troops and injured almost 60,000 more. A strong military should be a deterrent first, Warren said.
She also slammed the U.S. defense budget as “bloated” and said defense contractors have too much sway in Washington.
“It’s not fair to our men and women in uniform to ask them to solve problems that don’t have a military solution,” she wrote.
Warren also said the military needs to offer better pay and benefits and otherwise compete better with the civilian jobs sector for the country’s best and brightest. Touting her Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which she said helps protect servicemembers’ families from predatory loan practices, Warren said she would expand its practices and authority. Another service Warren called to expand is education benefits for service members and their families.
She said she would work as well to support military spouses, 30% of whom were unemployed last year. And she would back a universal credentialing system for professionally licensed employees, noting the challenges they face when they move from state to state for their spouse’s military job.
Warren said her plan for universal child care will also help military families and employment, and that she will invest in modernizing schools and improving daycares on military bases.
Noting that 30% of vets between 21 and 64 have a disability, Warren also promised to protect disabled veterans at work and support their caregivers with her Medicare for All And expanded Social Security plans.
Warren wants better quality military housing as well, to end veteran homelessness and give tenants access to advocates And the Bill of Rights. She also promised to reform the justice process for military sexual assault and support survivors.
“Until reporting an assault is not perceived as a possible end to someone’s career, we will never fully address this scourge,” Warren wrote.
With a first-term goal of halving the number of vets who die by suicide, Warren additionally promised better mental health care for service members and veterans.
In another nod to equal protection for all service members, Warren said she would repeal Trump’s ban on transgender service numbers her first day in office.
She also promised to revitalize the VA.
“The way I see it, this is not complicated. It’s about a government that keeps its promises to those who served — it’s about our values,” Warren wrote.