Washington, D.C. – Today, Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senator John McCain (R-AZ), Senator Jack Reed (D-RI), and Congressman Jeff Miller (R-FL) joined former Senator Elizabeth Dole and Hidden Heroes Caregivers to found a new congressional caucus dedicated to the 5.5 million spouses, parents, children and other loved ones serving as volunteer caregivers to America’s wounded warriors.
These family members and loved ones shoulder the responsibility of bathing, feeding, dressing, managing medication and injections, arranging for rehabilitation, all while most are raising a family. A recent RAND study commissioned by the Elizabeth Dole Foundation estimates the services they provide save our nation $13.6 billion annually, yet these caregivers too often pay a price, suffering physical and emotional stress and illnesses; difficulty maintaining employment; financial, legal and family strains; and isolation. The Hidden Heroes Congressional Caucus for Military and Veteran Caregivers, co-chaired by Leader Pelosi, Senator McCain, Senator Jack Reed and Congressman Jeff Miller, will raise awareness and develop legislation in support of the millions of military and veteran caregivers tending to their ill and injured warrior at home.
“Today’s announcement marks yet another major milestone in our efforts to raise awareness and support for our nation’s 5.5 million military and veteran caregivers. I am enormously grateful to Leader Pelosi, Senators McCain and Reed, and Congressman Miller for their leadership in stepping forward on behalf of our nation’s hidden heroes,” said Senator Elizabeth Dole, president and CEO of The Elizabeth Dole Foundation. “I am hopeful that this bipartisan effort will galvanize Members of Congress to pursue common sense, holistic policy solutions to improve services and support for the nation’s military caregivers. These selfless individuals are caring for those who cared for us, and now it is time for our nation to care for them as well.”
“We have a sacred responsibility to our military families – the men and women who don’t don the uniform, but bear the burden of war and its aftermath alongside those that do,” said Leader Pelosi. “We must recognize the service and sacrifice of these hidden heroes, and ensure they have the support they need to manage the responsibility of their loved ones’ often intensive and intimate daily care. This bipartisan caucus will lead our efforts in Congress to address the challenges facing military and veteran caregivers.”
“I am very proud to support America’s selfless military and veteran caregivers though this new Congressional Caucus,” said Senator McCain. “As a nation, we have no greater responsibility than to care for the physical and psychological wounds borne by our veterans at war – a cause to which these caregivers have committed their lives. I thank Senator Dole for leading this vital effort, and for her longtime commitment to America’s military families.” “Just as so many brave Americans have made extraordinary sacrifices in service to our nation during times of war, so too have millions of family members and friends, especially those who have taken on the additional role of caregiver for their wounded warrior. I salute their commitment and resilience and pledge to work with my colleagues in the Hidden Heroes Congressional Caucus to ensure they have the support and resources they need,” said Senator Reed. “I am proud to be a founding member of the Hidden Heroes Congressional Caucus for Military and Veteran Caregivers. Our nation’s military and veteran caregivers are a national treasure, emblematic of the crucial support countless families provide to current and former members of our armed forces both at home and abroad. These men and women deserve our support, and this caucus will serve as a lasting reminder of Congress’ commitment to ensuring they receive it,” said Chairman Miller.