A new report from the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service indicates a slight increase in the percentage of Veteran lawmakers.
Bbased on the report, around 21 percent of House lawmakers and 29 percent of Senators, had prior military service. Veterans, however, comprise only 3 percent of the adult population of the United States.
Almost 200 Veterans challenged incumbents, or ran for open seats, during the 112th Congress. While the committees for armed services and Veterans’ affairs in the House and Senate are currently being led by people who never served in the military, the subcommittees handling issues of military personnel are headed by Veterans.
Naval Academy graduate and Vietnam War Marine Veteran Sen. Jim Webb, for instance, is the chairman of the personnel panel of the Senate Armed Services Committee. He is also the chief sponsor of the Post-9/11 GI Bill, which brought significant improvements to education benefits for Veterans who served in the Iraqi and Afghan Wars.
Rep. Joe Wilson, on the other hand, currently serves as chairman of the military personnel panel of the House Armed Services Committee. Wilson is a retired Army National Guard colonel, and has four sons who have also served in the military. He is strongly opposed to Pentagon plans to reduce military retired pay, as well as a significant increase in out-of-pocket health care costs for retirees and their families.
Rick Jones of the National Association for Uniformed Services shared: “You don’t have to be a veteran, of course. We try to educate folks about the extent of sacrifice of being in the military, but it helps to have someone in Congress who already understands it.”