June 11, 2021 Press Releases

RECAP: Lawmakers, Veterans Highlight How President Biden Has Delivered for Veterans With the American Rescue Plan

PHOENIX –– Yesterday, Arizona Democratic Party Chair Raquel Terán hosted a press call with Congressman Ruben Gallego (AZ-07), State Representative Dr. Randy Friese (District 9), Aaron Marquez, and Dana Allmond to discuss how President Biden’s American Rescue Plan delivered for Arizona’s veterans, no thanks to congressional Republicans.

Despite GOP efforts to block this crucial aid, Democrats passed the American Rescue Plan and allocated $17 billion to invest in veteran-owned small businesses, initiate a COVID–19 Veteran Rapid Retraining Assistance Program, and ensure that veterans have access to quality medical care.

Chairwoman Terán and the four guest panelists—all veterans themselves—highlighted how President Biden delivered on his promise to fight for those who answered the call to bravely serve our country. Here’s what the panelists had to say:

Raquel Terán, Arizona Democratic Party Chair:

  • “While our governor displayed an abject failure of leadership—everything from reopening prematurely and brazenly lifting mask mandates—President Biden served as a guiding light of true leadership to get us through this crisis. We’re on the precipice of a true recovery, and without leadership in the White House, the state of Arizona would be nowhere near where we are today.” 

Ruben Gallego, Congressman (D, AZ-07):

  • “At the worst points of the COVID-19 recession, veterans unemployment nearly hit 12%. That’s why when we decided on the American Rescue Plan, we put together close to $17 billion just for veterans’ services alone, and that does not include all the ancillary benefits that came with other programs.”
  • “This is probably one of the most advanced and equitable veterans programs since the modern GI Bill, and I hope that there are more iterations of this. I hope, by then, we have more Republican friends that will join me in making sure that we give our veterans a fighting chance.”

Dr. Randy Friese, Arizona State Representative (District 9): 

  • “Our nation’s veterans are not immune from the cracks within the healthcare system, and I’m grateful that the president is deeply invested in supporting the 18 million veterans in the United States, including the 500,000 veterans in Arizona.”
  • “Actions speak far louder than words, and it’s a shame that Arizona congressional Republicans skirted their duty to take care of those brave men and women who served our nation—they turned their back on our veterans by not voting for the American Rescue Plan.”

Aaron Marquez, Co-Founder of VetsForward and Governing Board Member for Phoenix Union High School: 

  • “I’m excited about the American Rescue Plan because I know it’s going to help veterans get back on their feet that have been struggling to find work during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
  • “I was very excited to hear that the 90/10 rule has been closed [under the American Rescue Plan] so that veterans are making sure that when they do use their GI Bill and other benefits from the VA, it’s going to an educational institution that’s going to add value to their professional careers….”

Dana Allmond, lifelong veteran advocate

  • “President Biden, he understands the reality and the need for aid within the VA Healthcare System, and he has addressed this issue head-on with a $14.5 billion investment in COVID-19 related health care for 9.2 million veterans enrolled in the VA Health Care System. Without this aid, our veteran community here in Arizona would have faced worse outcomes and longer wait times for care—something that we can’t afford in this pandemic recovery.”
  • “The bottom line is that investing in our veterans is not a partisan issue. We have an obligation to support those who bravely and selflessly answered the call to serve our country.”