Biden holds a veterans roundtable in Tampa, Florida
Okay. Good afternoon. My name is deshawn hines, and i'm the veterans academic advisor here at hillsborough, community college. I was a combat engineer, in the united states marine corps, from. 2004. Until 2013, where i honorally served my country. I am honored, to be here today with my fellow veterans, to meet a man. Who i believe. Will. Always, look out for our military, families. And who will always. Stand up for our veterans. And who will always, honor. Our service. Members. Please welcome, vice president. Joe. Biden. Thank you sarge, thank you deshaun, i. Thank you for your years of service and thank you for your continued, commitment. To supporting, our students. Veterans, as they pursue their educations. And thank you, hillsborough, community, college. For hosting us today. My wife jill is a community college professor, and. I've known for a long long time the community colleges, she says are the secret. Best kept secret in america. In terms of our education, system. And this is just one reason why. You help people, take the next step in their lives to, get the training, and, accreditation. They need. Including, our vets who after years of dedication, to our country are ready to build civilian, lives of meaning. And of opportunity. Less than one percent. Of the population, of our country. Chooses to serve our country in the military. Less than one percent. Risk everything to defend our nation our values, and everything we hold dear. And the other 99, percent of us. We owe them. We owe them our thanks. Our gratitude. And our respect. In my view. Based on reports. Of interviews, president trump has proven. He's unfit told the office of the president, time again but nowhere. Are his faults more glaring, and more offensive, to me at least. Than when it comes to his. Denigration. Of our service members. Veterans. Wounded, warriors. The fallen. Quite frankly, uh. I won't say good anger, quite frankly makes me uh. Very upset. The way he gets in front of a camera and crows about how much he. Has done for veterans and then turns around and insults our service members. And fallen heroes when the camera's off. Calls them suckers. And. Losers. Son beau. Was the u.s attorney volunteered, to go six months to kosovo. To help them set up a criminal justice system. He did such a good job there. Kosovo government named a highway after him erected, a war memorial. And then. He had to get an exemption because his attorney general of the state of delaware to go with his unit to iraq. And he went for a year. In iraq. Came home with a bronze star. He's gone now. But he was no sucker. He was a, man like many of the people he served with, women and men. Who served, with him. Served. In a way that they should be honored as heroes. Not in some derogatory. Way. They didn't come home losers. They came home heroes. And i think it's an absolute disgrace. Donald trump has no idea. About the. Ideas, that animate, women and men who sign up to serve. Duty. Honor. Country. That's what service and patriotism, is all about. Duty. Honor, country. As reported. A very reliable, source. And confirmed, by. Many major outlets. That he said to a fallen, father. A member of the service, the father the father of a fallen soldier. Who was himself was a member of the service. As he's standing by the gravesite. He allegedly, said i don't get it. What was in it, for them. What was in it for them. Donald trump doesn't seem to be able to conceive. The idea, of selfless, service. Or being part of a cause that's bigger than yourself. Every day i carry with me. A card and i've been doing this for. Better part of 14, years. It's my schedule. On the back of it wherever the schedule ends. There's always a black box. That i have here. It says daily, troop updates. U.s troops, died. In iran, and afghanistan. 6 000. As of today. 923. Not roughly, 6900. 923. Because every, one of these fallen, angels. Left behind a family. Left behind. A community. There was an empty seat. At that table now. U.s troops wounded in iraq and afghanistan. 53. 192. Not over 53, thousand. I've flown back on those, c-130s. With. Caskets, draped, coming out of. Iraq and afghanistan. I've been there at dover air base. And those bodies come home. You know. And think of all the folks and you all know it.
Coming Home with unseen injuries. Tens of thousands, come home with unseen, injuries. Post-traumatic, stress. Traumatic, brain. Injury. Mental health challenges. As a nation. I've been criticized, for this over the last 30 years when i've said it. But as a nation we have many obligations. To our children, to the elderly, to the poor. To those in need. But i believe we only have one truly sacred, obligation. To prepare, and equip our troops that we send into harm's way. And to care for them and their families. When they return. We owe our veterans, the future of security, and dignity. That they've earned and it starts by protecting, the va. Restoring, the trust in the va because the va must be the premier provider, of health care services. To promote, our veterans, overall well-being. That's why the va has more specialized. Knowledge about how to treat. Veterans, unique health needs, beyond physical and mental. Than the private sector does by far. Provides, a community of understanding, and support. Facilitates. Accountability. For veterans, health, and well-being, as a whole. That is absolutely. Vital. For successful, outcomes. We have a responsibility. To ensure that we're providing. Veterans, with world-class. Health care they deserve. In every. Situation. That means hiring more doctors, and medical personnel, and professionals. To work at the va including positions. Essential, to veterans healthcare. Nurses, and psychologists. We need to offer these medical professionals, the incentive. To join the va. We need to pay them. A competitive, salary. Of the private sector. We also have to do more to build the pipeline, of doctors and nurses especially, in rural areas. If you live far away from a va center it's absolutely essential. That you can see a doctor closer to home. That's why during our administration. President obama, signed the va access, choice, and accountability. Act, into law in 2014.. President trump's like to say he passed the va choice. But just like everything else he seems to be saying. It's a figment of imagination. Is a flat lie. Now we need to keep working to implement the mission, act. Effectively. And efficiently. So that works for all our veterans. While always making sure community, care providers. Are held to the same, high quality, standard. As va, centers. We're going to make sure our women veterans and our lgbtq. Veterans. Get the service and respect they deserve, from culturally, competent, providers. And critically. We're going to make sure that no veteran is locked out of treatment. For conditions, related, to, toxic, exposure. From burn pits. Or traumatic, brain injuries. They experienced, in the line of duty. We made that. Mistake. With agent orange. As a senator i fought for decades, to help, vietnam, veterans get access and help, were able to expand, on it. During the, obama, biden administration. We can't let this be delayed, again. Denying, access because the vet could not prove a direct connection. If you're exposed to agent orange. Was wrong it's to be presumed. If the ailment, you have. Is caused by your exposure, to asian orange that you get treatment. We've got it. We've got to seriously, tackle the mental health crisis we have. A suicide, academic. Epidemic, is claiming far too many are veterans. And service members. You know one of the saddest things that my son came home after. After a year in iraq he was back at the as attorney general. The week before christmas, he came over the house he said that i don't know what i'm going to do. There was a marine veteran had been deployed, a total of six times if my memory is correct.
Who Was in a. Relatively. A, a, modern. Upscale, neighborhood. Middle class neighborhood. And then get up in the morning. And then get out. And as i think it was a dodge ram. Started down the street in front of his house which was, no sidewalks. Saw a woman. Walking her dog. Ran over her. Killed her. Killed the dog. Put her in the back of his pickup truck took her down to i-95. Right by where the. Where there was the uh, all the sand, pile for, emergencies. Molested, her. Put her back in the truck. Came home. And called the state police and said i just killed someone, there was a voice in my head saying i had to kill someone. I had to kill someone turn himself, in. You know. The latest status suggested, almost, 600. Veterans. As well are dying by suicide, every year, just here in florida, 600, a year. It's devastating. There aren't any easy answers to this. But we can do so, much, better, than we're doing now. We have an obligation, to do so much better. We have to help our heroes, understand. That it's an honorable. Thing to do and take strength, to reach out and ask for help. If they're suffering from unseen, wounds. They're so accustomed, to being asked not to ask for anything. We have to end the stigma. Surrounding, mental health treatment. When they do reach out. When they call the crisis hotline. Or walk into a va hospital, or visit a va center for counseling. We have to make sure damn, sure that there's no one turns them away. No one tells them they have to wait. Part of it's also making sure the veterans, feel a. Sense of security, and connection, and mission. In the civilian, world. As they did on active duty. Better employment, opportunities. Meaningful career trajectories. Education, like the one student, vets get here at hillsborough, community college. Which translated, into greater opportunities, for our vets. Not just put money on the pockets of for-profit. Fraudulent, outfits. Because we got to stop that. It all matters. It especially, matters, how their families, are treated. John, milton the poet. Wrote these lines. They also. Serve. Who only stand, and wait. Well military, families, husbands, wife sons daughters mothers fathers. They serve every single day. Attending, to their specific, needs. And unique challenges, should never be an afterthought, for us. It's a national, security, imperative. Fulfilling, our promise to our veterans and our military, families, caregivers, and survivors. Is critical. To ensuring. We not only meet our obligations. But the future generations. Continue to volunteer, to serve. My wife jill. She worked on this more than about anyone. During our administration. She and michelle obama, teamed up and started an outfit called joining forces. A nationwide, initiative. To drive, concrete, commitments, to support. Service, members. Veterans, and their families and caregivers, and survivors. To help make sure. Teachers, are equipped to better meet the needs of military, children in their classrooms. Help bring down some of the barriers, because the vast majority. Of vast majority of those kids in the school have no idea. A little johnny or mary or, jamal, is worried. Because his mommy or daddy. Is stationed in a foreign, land. It makes it so much harder for military, spouses, to find good jobs and build their careers. I have to change it that we're working on that working with leaders like. Lauren, weiner. Hiring, our heroes. And military, spouses, employment, program. For example making it easy to carry your professional, credentials, with you. From one state to another when, your spouse, moves. Harris blight administration, is going to relaunch, that effort and keep pushing further to make it easier for military, spouses, and veterans, to find meaningful, careers.
To Ensure teachers, know how to support military, children in their classrooms, and to improve support for caregivers, and survivors. So much more than we do now. This isn't a theoretical, commitment. It's personal. The year that. My son beau deployed, to iraq. With his national guard unit. That's when jill and i learn what it really means to be part of a military, family. You end up praying every night and every morning for the safety of your child far from home. In the middle of a war zone. Facing unknown dangers. Every, family, gathering. They admit they're missed. Every time the children ask why mommy or daddy isn't there to tuck him in it hurts. These are the challenges, most americans never have to face. These are the women and men their families. They're the absolute, best that our country has to offer they're the backbone, of america. And some of the most meaningful, moments. Of my vice presidency, of those eight years. Was in thanksgiving, we'd host a thanksgiving, meal. For. The wounded veterans. At the vice presidential. Residence. We spend. Every christmas, day. Visiting, the patients at walter reed hospital. I spent time with our wounded warriors, in trauma centers all across the country and around the world. And you know what the message i often heard when i walk in and say soldier sailing, what can i do for, you. Whether they have their amputees, or not their arms out they try to pull themselves, up and try to salute. They say yes sir. I want to go back to my unit can you get me back to my. Unit. That sound like the. Heart and the grit and patriotism, of a sucker. Or a loser. Sounds like heroism, to me. Sounds like what patriotism, is all about. Our military, is the greatest, fighting force in the history of the world, and that's not hyperbole, it's a. God's, truth. Deserves, a commander-in-chief. Who respects, their sacrifice, understands, their service, and will never betray, the values they defend. They deserve, better than goes on now with their commander-in-chief. And if i have the honor of ever serving. As the next commander-in-chief. I want every single member of the armed forces, our veterans, their families, their caregivers. And their survivors, of no. I will never treat you with anything other than the honor. And respect, and dignity, you deserve. I always have your back. Like you've had our back. The country's, back. Thank you all. May god protect, our troops. Thank. You. Right. Here. Thank you. Vice president biden for your compelling remarks. Thank you to hillsborough, community college for hosting this event. And thank you to the viewers around the country who are watching today. I have the great honor of being not only a participant, but a moderator, for today's events. My name is lauren weiner and i'm the ceo, of wwc. Global. In 2004. My husband received military, orders to naples, italy. As i prepared for our adventure. I soon realized that moving would bring a myriad of unexpected, career, challenges. In particular. There was a formal, policy, on base that prohibited, local military spouses. For applying for professional, level jobs. I had come from the white house. And realized quickly that my career was at a total standstill. Fast forward 16, years. And not only have we created jobs for almost, 300, military, spouses, and veterans. Many of whom have moved with the military, and with wwc, global many times. But we are also one of the largest women-owned, small businesses here in the tampa bay area. And the second largest, privately held government contracting, firm in the region. Wwc. Global is proud to have won the largest government contract, award. To a woman-owned, business. In u.s special operations, command history here in tampa, congratulations. Thank you. All of this because, me, my co-founder, donna honeycutt. And so many, other talented. Professional, military spouses. Wanted to obtain meaningful, employment in naples italy so many years ago. We realized, that, much as may we may want to, wwc. Could not hire all of the talented military spouses, around the world, although we're still trying. In 2010. We launched a non-profit, called in gear career. Now part of the hiring our heroes, program. To give back to this incredible, population. That it helped us grow. We also started homefront, rising. An annual training program to help military spouses. Get engaged, in the political, process. Across the political spectrum. Military spouses, are four, times more likely to be unemployed. Or underemployed. Than their civilian, counterparts.
A 24. Percent unemployment, rate recovered. This is a staggering. Number. But hiring military spouses, isn't simply the patriotic, or right thing to do. Hiring military, spouses, is good for our economy. It's good for individual, businesses. And it's good for our force readiness. Military, spouse employment. Done right. Impacts, all of the other issues that we'll talk about here today. Mental health transition. Quality of life. All get better, when military, spouses. Are afforded the opportunity, to contribute, their intellect. Ingenuity. And professional, background to our communities. Mr vice president. Thank you for what you and dr biden have done for all military, families. The joining forces initiative. Profoundly. Impacted, efforts around military spouse employment. And other military, family issues. Thank you for inviting us here today. Well thank you for what your what your company has done look you all know this. Because, your. Veterans, and. Many of you have, spouses, and not all you i don't want to presume, anything, but. The fact is that. You know. One of the things that was i found particularly. Difficult. When. Watching, what happened. During. The heavy deployments. Back in. Iraq, and afghanistan. Before i was able to get permission, to bring home 150. 000 troops. Was that, a significant, portion of those troops. Were. Either, reservist. Or. Or, national guard. And. They did not have. The camaraderie. Of if they stayed back on the base, at least of other people being in the same, circumstance. And. What i found, was as we traveled around the world and around the country. Is that. The. Lack of a sense of. Being, understood. What's happening. Just being able to know. That uh. Somebody else knows what you're going through that sense of loss that even even everything's, fine even if, even if your. Husband or wife is in in good physical, shape and safe were ever deployed. But this idea, that you know you're still. Every night you're taking care of, the homework by yourself, or, you're the only one being able to go to the school play or you're the only one. There, you know for the, birthday, and no one's there. I mean it does. Impact, on, family. Solidarity. It does impact, on a sense of. Community, which you have. And. My wife, was part of an organization, in delaware called boots on the ground. I know you're familiar with it at all. But, what that was, and just in my small state of delaware, and i'm if i'm, taking too much time tell me because i'll stop. But. What i found was, that. I remember, my. My daughter-in-law. Calling. My the first snowstorm. After beau was deployed. And, she said. Nana. Somebody's, out there. Shoveling, the driveway. This was up another, snowstorm. Shoveling the driveway. And. And i i i, i didn't, call them. They left a note saying thanks for the service. Thanks for your service. Or things like. When you're. Someone's deployed, and you're off base, even when you're on base, but you're off base. Find yourself in a situation, you have to show up for a. For a mammogram, or you follow up on a. On something having to do with a health problem. Who takes care of the kids. I mean what, what happens. Well they started this whole thing in delaware, people would show up. People would just volunteer, they'd give phone numbers and say i'll be there and show up. And only reason i'm bothering to say it is that you know but i want the people to understand, it, it does, help with the psychological. Help. The sense of community. You don't you didn't volunteer, to serve, all of you. To get thanked, you volunteered, to serve because that's who you are you're not used to saying, you know, well thank me i did something special. But it matters. When you know. People, know what you've done and, and they're just generically, supportive, what you did.
Respect You for it. So i think it's a big deal, what you've done and it's a major part of. What jill is already, god willing if we're elected, starting, and she'll be calling you not a joke. Uh to you know, you know to, to, begin, and re ignite. You know, uh. Joining forces again that she and michelle had done. So but thank you amazing, thank you. Next we've got deshawn, heinz. Who's going to speak to us as well. Thanks lauren i appreciate it um, yes sir. My son got permitted. Promoted, to major, and got to bronze star he said congratulations, you're now a field grade officer he said dad i don't know who runs the military. Sergeants. So. Who the feel great officers are but anyway. So especially, the marine, corps. Uh it's an honor, i know you hear that a lot but i really truly mean that. Um, as uh again my name is deshawn heinz i served in the united states marine corps and. I after the marine corps decided to come here to hillsborough community college and get my associate's, degree and i went on to. The university of tampa to get my bachelor's degree so i've been around education ever since i got out of the military. Luckily they found that i was great with veterans so. That's why i decided to come here and work with them. As an academic. Academic, advisor, advisor, excuse me, the veterans education is a big part of, my life now and. One i think that our current va education, system is great. But one of the fears that i have is that they may not be keeping up with the times. And that they may fall behind in regards to evolving with veterans. As you probably know, there's a lot of veteran-owned, businesses, now and that's because we have, great entrepreneurship, programs that are starting to come out of college. Such as the one we have here at historic. Hillsborough community college. Ran by dr, andy gold and beth curley, to where they can have a veteran go from idea. To actually, starting and making sales in just four months. Uh one of the concerns i have is after they have their company. They may not a lot of them don't come back to financial education, and their va, jab bill just sits there. And. You know i was, one of the things that we had mentioned was if there's a way that we can possibly get it to where, they can maybe, uh use, the benefits that they're not going to be used for education, to, fund their business. Uh if they don't come back to use it so i was wanting you, uh in essence were thinking about that or, about the va education, another issue was what you had touched on in your speech. Was veteran suicide. As you know there you have we've all heard the term the 22. And you know hit home personally with me where i had a young marine. Named frank smash who had, went to a va hospital. Who was already getting assistance, with uh. You know with health care and with mental illness, and, told them that he was going to leave and commit suicide if he they didn't help him and. Unfortunately, he didn't he walked out and ended up committing suicide. So i know a lot of people talk about. Doing something or stopping it but. It seems like it's still a big issue, and so i appreciate. You know what you have said and how you're going to take action what's, behind trying to stop this this pandemic. Well look there's a couple things and again. Tell me if i'm. Telling you more than you want to hear, okay. Because i know. You all, know. All of this, but first of all. You know. One of the things we're finding. Is that uh. I used to have a friend who was a, great basketball, player. Years and years ago, back in the days, when providence, college had those great teams and reardon, and walker, you know the. All pros, ended up being all pros were on that team if you're a basketball, fan. And his name was pete, and, pete was. Not. That interested in academics. But. He was a smart guy, and he used to have an expression. He'd say you got to know, how to know. You've got to know, how to know. I can take you to the library, of congress. And, if you don't know how to read the card catalog, using the computer you it's of, very little. Value to you all those. Thousands, and thousands of books. Well i find the same thing and it didn't start off, in the context, of veterans. But i found the same thing with entrepreneurs. There's an awful lot of entrepreneurs. And you see what's happening well i won't go into that but an awful lot of entrepreneurs. And it started off dealing with minority, entrepreneurs. Who given the opportunity, are successful, as any other group of entrepreneurs. That's why barack and i started this program, for. Giving money to, state. Small business associations. That they could then fund. And bring from the, from the off. The. Outside the federal government bring in attract, private. Funding to help people get started.
Well What i was amazed about when i read about your program, down here. Is you provide, the kind of help, that, knows, teach people how to know how to know they may not know. That they need this particular, accountant. Or they may not know, how to get in contact with a lawyer to get the documents, that are needed to be done, they may not know. The detail, because. Most of the big banks don't like london, to. To small operators. And so. What you've done here, is, that, you in fact have provided. For. These young entrepreneurs. And these, and these military, entrepreneurs. You've sort of shown the way, i don't mean take them by the hand and say come on now, they've got great ideas. But they don't know the system. Well enough their ideas, as good as anybody else's, idea. Idea. And if they get the chance, to get them the, infrastructure. Set up to be able to start. Whatever that entrepreneur, effort is, they can do very, well. But they don't know how and that's what i was so impressed about what, hillsboro, does here or you all do here. But i haven't. What i don't know. And i'll be very blunt with you because i didn't it didn't occur to me. Until. I, we set up coming down here. And. I, learned about the program. I don't know, how. We can't. Move, and i think it's a, good idea. If they drop, out of school, to run that business. Can they use those fundings, to promote, their business. To get their business, up and going. Can they use that funding that they don't know is that what you're asking me, yes sir in essence so that uh if they can be able to get like uh. A lump sum of that you know of course not the full, the full amount that it would be over the course of four years but yeah, like. Yeah and and. And, the answer, is, uh, you know, um. The service of these young women and men is not over but they uh, we need their talent, leadership, and their experience, but. So. You know from. 9 11. The post. Protect post 911, and forever gi bill benefits, we gotta. On the one hand crack down on a, fraud, of the for-profit. Outfits, out there that are trying to take, advantage. And. Figure out how, these vets can get access to training. And, placement, but also, can they use it for their business i have to give you an honest answer. I've not thought of it, and i promise you i'll pursue, it and i'll get back to you and tell you whether or not mechanically. That can be done or is it better to go straight, to. What i already have set up. The small business enterprise, proposal. For example. The 1 billion five hundred million dollars we put aside for entrepreneurial. Uh encouragement. Brought 30 billion dollars in from the private sector. My proposal, is to raise that to a 15, billion, this goes to the states now. A 15, billion dollar, sba. Small. To states. That's likely to build. And they'd be somewhere, between. 100, close to 150, billion dollars off the sidelines. That may be the better way to do it, and still, preserve. The ability, to come back and finish that degree because no matter what, is said. Even in your entrepreneurial. Business you can still at night, it makes sense to, come complete the degree. But i don't know the answer i've never thought of before i must tell you, about using, va, benefits. To provide, for. The entrepreneurial. Enterprise, you have underway, and. And if you have to if it's uh. If it's i forget what the tuition, here is it's actually, quite low here compared to other universities, other, community colleges. But uh. Would you be able to use that now. The other complication. I must tell you. Is if i'm elected, i promise you that we're gonna, make sure, and there's the votes are to do it. To provide, for, free, community, college, for anybody who qualifies. Across the board so there would be no. The question is would then how would that work you follow me. So. I promise, i'll have my, guys get my, actually the woman who runs us get in touch with you, and we'll see if i can work something out and i'll get back to all of you as to what my position, is but, i think it may be better to go directly, through the existing, program. Then to do it that way but i'll look at it. Desean, you guys are doing amazing work here and i see it in the, uh entrepreneurial. Infrastructure. Here in tampa. Here in hillsborough, county and across the state, you guys are doing amazing stuff so thank you but it really is amazing i mean you just have to know or just have to know how, you know like. Little things like, how do i go about getting a license, for this where do i go do th you have the idea, it does, that doesn't anyway undercut, your new idea on i.t, or your new idea and whatever. Because, but, how you get there point me tell me what i need to do to get it done.
I Was impressed. Next we've got elena, and mcculla. To speak. Hello, hello lieutenant, how are you, yes. Um, um. So i, wrote a little, a little, little story. To tell you about. My. Military, career. I was born and raised in the dominican, republic. When i was 16, my family, sent me to live with my aunt and uncles, in california. And. I had the opportunity. For having an opportunity, to have a better life. On the week of my 18th, birthday, i joined the united states coast guard. And i served for 24, years. I started as enlisted. And, i. Did. 14, years as enlisted. And then i had. I became a lieutenant. And. And i kept serving. And. My country. The highlights, of my careers. Are a liaison. Major, interdiction. Operation, in the caribbean. And maritime, efforts, in the wto. In miami. So, um i was very proud, of my. Military, career. Um but i have one, one issue. Um that, that, i have been talking to a lot of people and they're very concerned, about it, and it's social, security. It's crucial. It's a crucial, program, for millions, of hard-working. Americans. Including, veterans. Florida. Is. Is home of the second most, military. Retirees. In the country. We have contributed, to social security. Our entire, lives. And we, with the expectation. That we will retire. And we, and if we become disabled. Social security, will be there for us. But now president, trump is threatening. To defund, social security, by cutting the payroll, tax. So many retired. Veterans. Depend, on social security. Part of the reason that. That's why we're supporting, you because. You will protect, social security. And i can't imagine, an alternative. That's why we are working, so hard. To make sure. That. We have you as our president. This is both simple and complicated. Number one. You all know, the way the social security, system's been funded because you've been paying into it your whole lives. And it's essentially, six and a half percent of your salary, and your employer, pays six and a half percent. And that's how the social security system is funded it's a little more complicated, but that's the essence of it. What the president. Is. What we did by the way. When. Brock and i got involved, the president barack obama and i got in office. Is that. We inherited. The most. Significant, recession. Short of a depression, in american history. And, so we decided, we had to do things to. Spur the economy, and. Have economic, growth. One of the things we did, was to get, money, immediately, into the hands, of. Of. Folks who had a job still. And a paycheck, by. Deferring. Their, social security, payment. But we had written into the law, a firm commitment, that the government would when, crisis, was done would, make up the entirety, of that so there'd be no, diminishment. Of the amount of money in the fund, to be able to pay. For this. Now. The president. I i, don't want to sound. Well i'll just say. The president. Has. Focused. On the reason why the covet crisis has been so bad. He has focused, only on making sure the stock market, stays, up, and, make sure it doesn't decline, because then it looks bad and, the economy, begins to droop for the very people that he most represents. And so one of the ways but. The congress has passed legislation. To provide, for significant, help. For, working, families. So that they would be able to, for example, have. The ability, to, not be able to be thrown out of their apartments. And the government would pay for that until the recession, is over if they had didn't have the money. Or there's 20 million people in america. An awful lot of latinos. Here as well in this state. Because they have 50, of latinos, own homes. They find themselves, in a position, where 20 million americans, are on the verge of, having, to, we're worried they'll be foreclosed, on because they can't pay the mortgage payment. And all that, money is in, this act that's been passed, in the senate and support i mean the house. With some, republican, support and some republicans, supporting, in the senate. But mitch mcconnell. The, senator from kentucky, is the majority, won't bring it up to be voted on. And the president, is unwilling. To. Figuratively, and literally speaking get off his golf course and out of a sand trap and call a meeting. In the oval office, for real have you ever heard of a time in chrysler like this, the president, has not called together. The factions, in the senate in the house, to come and try to settle something is this consequential. I mean for real. Hadn't done it. But. So he's trying to figure out ways in which he can in fact. I'm sorry for the explanation, but i think it's important to know the context. Whereby, he can. Say those people still have a job, even though. You have over 30 million people receiving, unemployment, now and about to. You know that's about to dry up too. Is, that. Those who get a paycheck, will find they get their six and a half percent that were taken out of the paycheck.
In Their paychecks, it looks like they're going to get a pay raise. They'll have more money to spend which is not a, a bad idea, theoretically. But. He's, told he said he wanted to make sure that the employer, and employee. Stopped, paying into the system. Because. That would give them more cash, available, to deal with their, issues. But the problem, is, the actuary. At social security. The professional. Said. If they do that. Within. Three years. The system will be totally, bankrupt. We're talking about hundreds of billions of dollars, here. That would have to be made up how could you so all the things you paid in to be gone, so the president's, now saying that. He's just gonna defer. That being done. Between, now, and. After the election, so. I guess it's, february, 1st or something. You're going to defer. And say. You don't, have to pay for that period of time. You're. Your. Tax, on, for social security, and medicare. The problem, is. It's, required, that the day. After. That. Exemption, runs out. You got to make it all up so if the last the fourth quarter. Of this, year. You don't pay, no one pays into. The social security, trust fund. All that money has to be paid up. In the social security trust fund. In the first quarter of next year. So what people don't know particularly, the military, is not going to know. On your military, pay you're going to have to pay. Have to come up with, in, the next, quarter. Twice the amount of money that was taken out of your paycheck. Before. You with me. Now i doubt whether most people are going to take that money and be able to put it away and save it because they have such. Urgent needs. And so it's going to be chaos. Now a number of employers. And, and our moderator, may know this a number of employers, are saying we're not going to withhold, it we're, we're going to keep paying in because we don't want to get hit. With a, you know, 400, 000 or 200, or million whatever how big the company is. Bill. From. Next quarter, you with me. But this is all about. I'm making an assumption, here. I can't. But it seems as though it makes no. Fiscal sense. It seems to be all about. Trying to make it look like you're doing something to help people. Middle of the covert crisis. When unemployment, continues, to go up. And when you have so many people out of work. Now. I think a 16 million is to have no, nothing at all.
And To make it look like. We're actually. Helping. Some people. That are in that. That, struggling. Area, to middle class area. It'll put more money in their pocket now and they say oh god he's doing something to help me. It's like the one thing he wants, passed, again, out of this, next round that they're, still stalled, on. He wants to be able to send that 1200. Checkout, per person. Because he literally, signs it and that's his name on it. He doesn't want to do anything else he doesn't want to help state localities. In terms of running their deficits. Dealing with them. I'll, end by saying. The reason i know a little about this is. When. We hit the recession. The president. At president. Obama, asked me. To see if i could convince, my republican. Friends to join us in, what turned out to be an 800. Billion, dollar. Recovery, package. That would be distributed. Within, 18, months. And so that, in fact we wouldn't go into a depression. Even outfits, like, the heritage, foundation, conservative, think tanks acknowledged, it kept us from going over the cliff. And. Part of it was he gave me the authority, to run it. I was able to provide, 140. Billion, dollars over that 18 months to state and local governments. Because the state government has to balance their budget. If you're the mayor of this city you have to have a balanced, budget you can't run a deficit. And when you have a when you when you're running a deficit means you lay off school teachers. You lay off the fire department, or not the whole department you lay out firefighters, you lay off police officers you allow first responders, you have. Doctors in the public hospitals, etc. And so. He's refusing. To do that. And the consequence, he has to demonstrate, he's going to get something, out there, with me. And i think that's what this is about i just wish i really mean this. I wish. He would in fact, just say. We're going to call a meeting. In the white house and we're going to stay here till we get a deal done. Democrats, and republicans. Now apparently there's a lot of republicans, who are willing to get a deal. But apparently there's 20 republicans. Very conservative. Members. Who say they don't want to spend any more money. And so that's the hard part, getting. The majority, leaders in the spot, that he can't i'm talking too much. Specificity. Here but i want you to understand. What's not happening. There's answers, the house. Has already, passed. This legislation. To make sure. That you're still. Get your social security, make sure medicare, is expanded. Like in this state. There's not expanded, medicaid. Medicaid. Well guess what. You know you got a lot of people losing their health insurance. And, every other state out there not every other but most other states. Under. The. Affordable, care act. The federal government will pay 100. Of the money, for medicaid. Which takes care of the poor. And then after several years pay 90. But, a lot of republican, governors, don't like. Medicare, and medicaid, and don't think the government should do it so they don't want to take on that responsibility. For the 10 percent, down the road. So that's it's all caught up in that. I hope that explains, it but i think it's a big mistake. And i think that we should. At least. If the president's done this which i think is a very bad idea. He should be honest with the public and say but you're going to have to pay this, back. In the next quarter. So if you're an e5. And you're out there trying to keep your family. You know, going here and you're paid i mean you're you know you're still. In the military, but you're home based. You got to know that god that's a little bit more money every month every, paycheck, from the military, but i'm going to have to. Double it going back. I'm sorry it takes so long but i think it's important for people to understand, exactly, what's, going on. Thank you sir that was, extremely, comprehensive, and extreme, i'll be less comprehensive. You know, i'm sorry. I feel very passionate, about this stuff. Famously, because i come from a family that uh. You know. My dad. Didn't have a job and, we had to move and you know and, figure it's about the next meal on the table i mean it's you know. Uh well now i'm going to turn to reverend, reverend, dr, glenn dames.
Uh Thank you and uh thank you mr vice president for being here today. I'm the reverend doctor, glenn b dames jr, i am the senior pastor, of. The allen temple, ame church here in tampa, and also a u.s army veteran. I'm excited. To have you here today and uh. More excited, to do everything i can to make sure you get elected. To be the next president of the united states of america that's pretty heck of a lot. Mr vice president i want to first say that um. Your son. Bo's memory is still etched in our memory. And he was indeed. No sucker or loser. He was the epitome, of bravery, and sacrifice. And to this day we still honor his memory. Thank you and his sacrifice, to our country. Uh and to his community. Mr vice president, uh, when i was uh, in the army, i, served, as. A mortuary, affairs, specialist. At fort lee virginia. And i had the wonderful opportunity, to serve. At the armed forces, institute of pathology. In washington, d.c. At walter reed hospital. Where i got an opportunity, to see firsthand. The disparities. Unfortunately. Of african-american. Veterans. And that's one of the things that is passionate, to me. Is the disparities. That exist, in federal medicine, especially. In the va system, when it comes to african-american. Vets. We fight so hard for things that should rightfully be ours. And we're always the first to volunteer. To serve our country and community. And so i'm hoping, that you can put together a plan your team. Can put together a plan, to help. Uh bridge that gap. Uh. That disparity. With. African american. Veterans. Who have served that country. Honorably. And deserve. Benefits. To that point. I am currently working. With a veteran. Who's a member of my congregation. His name is mr. David hicks. He has been retired, for 28 years from the united states. Air force. A vietnam, veteran. Excuse me because i get emotional. A vietnam, veteran. Agent, orange. And to this day he is still fighting for benefits. 28, years. After his retirement. After serving his country honorably. He is still, fighting. For benefits. And, he and his spouse, are both disabled. They have a son that's. Taking care of the both of them and they cannot, get the benefits, they need. To make their ends meet. I think that's abhorrent. And i hope uh, that as president. You can do something to help. Expedite. Uh bridge the gap. And help our. Especially. Our.
African-american. Veterans. Get the much needed. Care that they deserve. From the va system. And then, secondly. Um. Is veteran retooling. With all the layoffs that covet 19 has caused. We found a lot of our veterans. Are having to look for re-employment. And as a result. Mr vice president, they need. Desperately. To be retooled. And there's not very many. Va. Programs. That can help them retool. In this particular, process that i'm hoping. Mr vice president that you can. And your team can put together something to help. Our veterans retool. In today's, economy. Well look first of all. Your, parishioner. Is a, congregant, is, not alone. It doesn't make any easier, you're when you're in that. Situation, you're alone. That's you, okay. Um. Number one. Number two there's, i see two pieces, of what you're talking about here. The first piece is. The gentleman you referenced, who's been out 28, years. Is still fighting for access, to service, and. His medical. Needs, being cared for. Having been exposed to agent orange. I was the original. Co-sponsor. A long long time ago i got to the senate when i was. 29, years old. 30 years old. And right from the beginning. A generation. The whole fight was about. Agent orange. Some of you. None of you women are old enough but a few you men maybe you'll have to remember. That. The argument, was. That in order, to be able to get veterans, benefits. Whatever, ones are related, to. Illness. What you had to be able to show, is a direct, causal, relationship. To that immune disease you may have. And been exposed to agent orange. Which, science, was not able to. Absolutely, confirm. Precisely. Whatever, year. Whether it was a, brain injury or you had an autoimmune, disease. Or whatever. They couldn't prove beyond a reasonable, doubt that it was caused, by agent orange. Therefore. All these folks were left out. I started with some others including. Eventually, with a great friend john mccain. Later on. But this program, to say. All you have to do is show. That you were, in fact. Exposed, to agent orange. That fell on top of your head and millions and millions of tons of it dropped. And whatever. Illness you have, that is inexplicable. Relating, to your immune system, tumors, etc. Would be presumed. To be a consequence. Of the exposure. So you shifted the burden. From, the individual. Soldier. Or sailor, or marine. Or coast guardsman. To. The military. To the government. To say no, we have to pay for that we have to provide the services, we have to provide. All the backup, we have to provide the disability, payments. Because. You were exposed. Took a long time to get it done and you may remember, when we finally with barack. Even though he wasn't around. For that war. He strongly, supported, it and we increased, that, legislation. So there was a guarantee, basically. It also. Put the va in real trouble. Quite frankly, because it, all of a sudden you had. Thousands, of veterans. Now eligible. For the treatment of the va, with me. But we finally worked our way through that. That's, why. I got to the point where. One of the things you may remember. If you're from. The iraq war and afghan, war. Is, an awful lot of our, military. We have more amputees. Per capita. In these wars, than we had, since the civil, war. And why. Because, of. Ieds. Improvised, devices. Buried in the ground, and, going by with. A humvee. Not a hump you know just going by with a vehicle. And getting blown up. And so many were dying. But what happened was there was an effort, there was a recommendation. By. Some. In the military, that we could, an up armored mrap. Could save, a lot of lives. But they're very expensive. And the military, wanted to spend the money on other needs they saw. But i became, a, uh. How can i say it politely, a royal pain in the neck to everybody on the senate floor. And i constantly, went to the floor saying that. We will be responsible. For these deaths and amputations. If we don't act we have something, that can, fundamentally. Change. The effects, on. A soldier, or sale or anyone. Who's blown up an ied, with these new vehicles. And they've saved, thousands of lives, in the meantime. But what happened was. As the president, says are just headaches, but traumatic, brain injury. Is real. It causes, significant. Physical, consequences. And psychological. Consequences. As well. And so. What was happening, i wanted to make sure we didn't go through another. Period. Like we did in that fight to finally, get coverage. For people exposed to agent orange after all those years. I didn't want to have to go back and have a debate how do we make up for it. So. Now. If in fact you can demonstrate.
You Have traumatic, brain injury. You have a brain, injury, problem. That. And you were in, an area of concussion. It's assumed. It's because. Of that concussion. You don't have to go back and prove no i was there on this day. I was 300, yards from that ied, and this happened and i got to prove and i got a doctor to say, that's precisely. Why, this injury, occurred in my you know. And so, so we wouldn't have to go through that again. But it takes me to the larger, question you have. What about. Dealing, with. All the things. African-americans. Military. Members. Or veterans. What about, the fact that, they get. Left behind. And they do for several reasons. Number one. If you are, a, african-american. Whether it's coven, on a military, base. Or you're. Off base and you're retired, you're a veteran. Covet. You are. Four times as likely, to come down with covid. And three times as likely to die, if you're white. That's because a lot of preconditions. That exist. If you are hispanic, or latino. The ratio, is, two to one and three to one, but it's still much higher. Because, of other exposures. That exist. And the lack of ability, to be in circumstances. Where. Your physical, health has been able to be taken care of because you've had. The insurance, and the like for preventive, stuff early on. So a lot of it has to do with everything, from. Having. Diabetes. To. Other problems, that are complicated. That's why you see so many people. White and black and hispanic, and asian americans. Dying because of pre-existing. Conditions, that are out there. So. One of the things that we have to do is we have to focus, on. Those. Veterans. And you're talking about veterans, now african-americans. Who have been. Had that exposure. That exposure. To whether it's coveted, and or, anything, else. Because they're in a position where they're more likely, to be susceptible. But. One of the pieces, of that is that, if you are, an. African-american. Veteran. The likelihood. Although we've tried, incredibly. Hard in our administration. And we, significantly. Cut down. The rate of unemployment, of vets getting out when they. African americans. Is that that old thing is to quote, you know barack there's still systemic, racism, if your name is. Joe. And i apply for the job and you have the same qualifications. I have and your name is jamal. I'm likely to get the job. It's just a fact of life. And so what we're not doing enough of. Is. Is bringing, in, veterans, and you probably have it right here in your programs, here at school. That seems to me you probably are emphasizing. It you know dealing with it, but. The ability. To. Again know how to know. The ability, to find, jobs. And, connect people with jobs that's what we spent a lot of time doing in our administration. Getting. Providing, significant, number of government. Jobs, effect, in the federal government because if you could. Take care if you were a quartermaster. You can, sure in health take care of running a you know department, store, uh, thing you know where. In the second. Floor of the ladies department or whatever you know i mean, if you have, been responsible. For. A couple billion dollars worth of tanks you can sure handle. A distributing. Capacity. For, a, you know, uh. For. I don't know, fedex, you know you can do it. And so trying to connect. The veteran retirement. With. A. Helping, them understand. What. Their. Training, in the military. Most, qualifies. Them to be. Part of. To know where to start, looking. To know, where, to, try to connect people. And that's part of what i think. The va, has to do more of not the health side of it but the connection, side. Again, our moderator, you probably do that already, in your business. But, people don't realize, that i have this skill. That skill, may not. Work very well for me to go in and be a salesperson. But it may work, very well for me to be a warehouse, manager.
It May be a place, you understand what i'm saying. And so doc what we ought to do. Is talk a little bit about, and i'll get my people on the line with you, you may be able to be specifically, helpful and you may as well, from here. Specifically. Helpful. And the kinds of things that, are already, available. That people don't know are available, you follow me. But. Explicitly. Would is, the more helpful. And by the way. You know. White guys with high school education, has come out and they're having the same kinds of problems and not as bad. Not as bad it's just worse for. Minorities. And so, we gotta, and i'm happy to go through with you in some more detail. What, kinds of initiatives, are available, so you can help. For example if i were still a senator, if i were still, i could do it anyway. Um. We ought to. You ought to get us in touch with your individual. You're talking about. And see if we can. Do a little bit of case work here and guide a little bit but. Larger, than that that's one person. Larger than that, we have to expand, the access. To these programs, that connect. A veteran. With. Their, most, likely. Area, of employment. They may say they want to go and, i don't know do whatever but it may not be. Their skill. That they acquired, in the military. May not in any way enhance. That peace am i making sense. Okay. All right sorry. And there are some great you gotta ask me some easy questions here. I don't think anyone's gonna ask any easy questions sir, um there are some great programs, out there, um, both government but also non-profit, that that are doing that. Uh, and and, it's a good thing because, we are we are getting better. Um, the next person that we have is eliot, steele. Good afternoon, mr vice president, biden. My name is elliott steele i'm a veteran, and both my parents were veterans. My wife and i are founders of vincent, house florida's, first, internationally, accredited, clubhouse. For people with a mental illness. As we all clearly, know. If someone experiences. An injury. Heart attack, or prosthesis. They go through physical, therapy. To learn to walk on that uneven, sidewalk. Get their stamina, self-esteem. And self-confidence. Back. And then they're successful. At returning, to work. And having a purpose, in life. Before, vincent house, veterans, and other mental illness, other people with mental illnesses, in florida. Did not have that opportunity. Vincent house, is a clean, safe restorative.
Community. As it built upon, respect, and dignity. Something, people with a mental illness, rarely, experience. In addition to the opportunity. To practice, work. Participants. Called members. Can find a purpose, in life. Through voluntary. Work running the clubhouse. And relationships. Developed. With staff, and other members. As a veteran, myself, i wanted to ensure, veterans, were included. From the beginning. Almost 18, years ago. We had veterans, from bay pines va, visit us weekly. And participate. In our work order day. Many became, members, and membership, is for life. Since inception. Our members, have collectively. Earned over seven and a half million, dollars. Working, real jobs in the community. Many of these members, were written off by, their doctors. Department of vocational, rehabilitation. Their families, and in sometimes, themselves. As unemployable. Even more importantly. They have broken, that cycle, of perpetual. Patient. Vinson, house has grown. Into two additional, counties. With the most recent, one in pasco, county, having their ribbon cutting, tomorrow. Additionally, there are, now 11 clubhouses. In the state of florida. There are over 300, international, clubhouses. In more than 30 countries. 200, of them. Are in the united, states. My goal when you become, president. Is to assist your team. In providing, increased, mental health funding, to offer veterans. And other people with mental illnesses. The opportunity. To become a member in a clubhouse. In their own community. Just a short example, of one of our many veteran, members. A vietnam. Vet decided, to go back to school. He got his, his master's, with honors, he's a certified, addiction, counselor. Today he does a weekly, double trouble program, for our members. And double trouble is a program, a 12-step, program, for people with mental illnesses. And addictions. So he's giving back to the clubhouse. And i thank you for this opportunity. To share with you vincent, house. Really thank you look uh. As my mother, says you're here you're doing god's work kid. They really are. You know we've learned an awful lot, in the last, uh decade. About a lot of. Things relating, to health, and well-being. One of them we learned is that. The double addiction. Of mental health and. Substance, addiction. We always thought that, uh. That uh um. Mental, excuse, me a, physical, addiction, to a substance. Cause mental illness. Not so, other way around. And. So we found that out now and that's why one of the things this is not what you ask them is going to make the point of it though. One of the things that we have to do. Is, speaking of schooling. We used to, in our public school system. Have. School, psychologists. In the school. Social, workers. And. Folks who school nurses. But now we only have, one school psychologist, for every, 1500. Kids. Even though we now know, that, mental. Problems. That starts off with anxieties. That exist. In fact. Generate. Drug addiction. And so by putting. Psychologists. Back in the school system. We can identify, early, an entire generation. That is dealing, with. Serious. Serious, uncertainty. About. Their. State, of uh, security. For example. The generation. Between.
Seven Years old and 17, years old isn't more at risk than any generation. In. In in the history of the united states in terms of anxiety. Why, because, they see. Mom and dad, you know splitting, they see this, crazy, thing of everybody's, home. There's increased, domestic, violence, because people are staying alone there's increased child abuse there's increased, whole range of things. And so. One of the ways to get ahead of this. So there's not as many vincent house are going to be needed, 20 years from now. Is get catch this early, to keep kids in track and we find out when you have that occur. And you put these three, four and five-year-olds. In school. As opposed, to. In daycare. They increase by 58, percent the prospect, they'll go all through. 12 years of school without, running, addiction, problems and our mental health problems. But having said that. What you're talking about. Is incredibly. Consequential. When brock, and we when we pushed, the affordable, care act. We insisted, that there be, mental. Health, parity. Whether you have, a, mental. Problem, disease. It's a disease, of the brain, anymore, just to go out and you break your arm or your back or your leg. And it has to be treated. The same way, accommodated. By the insurance companies. The same, way you would if you walked in and said, you know. My insurance, covers, my. My broken leg. That's to cover. The mental health treatment you get. But in addition to that. We are so short. Across the country as you know. With community mental health centers. With access to mental health period. That. One of the things i call for is a multi-billion, dollar investment, in, community health centers but secondly. Making, sure that. We are in a position. That. Non-profits. Like you guys. Are a major, part of the operation. Of bringing people, into the, into this ambit, this gambit we have here look. Um. There is a. An outfit called, you know, the wounded warriors, they had that march across the united states. These are these are brave, women and men. Uh, and both american, and european, and, out of england and other places. That we literally. Marched across the united states my wife and i spent, two days with them doing part of it. And the whole purpose was to say look. I was the guy or i was the woman that did the following. But i have a mental i have a mental health problem i have, traumatic, brain injury or i have. I, have, post traumatic, stress, and i need help. Because, they wanted to show. All those vets out there. That in fact. It's not. As you shouldn't be ashamed. Of needing. Mental health. Help. Anymore you should be ashamed if you went you broke your arm or you needed glasses, or whatever it was. And so one of the big things that, we started to do was making some progress, and you'd know better than anyone. Is we made an effort in our administration. To take the stigma. Off of. Seeking. Mental health assistance. Number one number two. What you're doing. Is providing, a community. For people. Who have gone through, similar, circumstances. And now, know. I'm not alone. I'm not the only one that this happened though i, i shouldn't be ashamed, and by the way. Sit down, and it's like you know like a.a, it's you know you, you know, the 12-step, program, you know or whatever. Okay here's how others have done it. And i and every once a while when they fall back to say no no no, come on back we can do it. You can do it. It requires. You know, that, that you know that old overused, phrase, you know. It takes, it takes a village to raise somebody well to deal with someone dealing with. Both a mental health problem or addiction, problem. It takes a bit of a village. You've got to have support. Support, and the support, that is most helpful, most of the time. Are people who are, in. Recovery. And i mean mental health recovery. As well as addiction recovery. And so. One of the things that and and by the way this whole notion, of. Of dealing, with the idea, that you know look. More vets. Are dying, and active duty military, are dying. Of. Suicide. Then, all. The, veterans. All the military. That have been killed. In wars or conflicts, since 9 11.. Think of that. More people are dying. By suicide, mostly. With getting access to a gun. And blowing their brains out. Then, died, in, conflict.
And Military, conflict, since 9 11.. And so, it is. It is a sad, sad, thing and. And since only one percent. Of the population, went to fight anyway. And of that one percent. There is this percentage, who in fact are. Committing, suicide. On a daily basis, 22, or so i think, it depends, it, varies slightly every day. It's like, it's somebody else's. Yard, it's, you know it's it's, it's not me it doesn't affect me you don't know it. Until you know somebody, who it happens to her it happens to somebody. That. Is your neighbor. And so. One of the things we have to. Deal with a number of things. What we did. When we were dealing with the mental health, issues. Elliott, is that. We, said it was the same as. Had to be treated with parody. With, every other health, problem. But ptsd. And, and traumatic, brain issues. Uh. Compounded, the issue and the va. Is best equipped, to help navigate, this we boosted, funding, for va for this purpose by 76, percent. In our administration. And i gotta we gotta build on that. As i said, you know, it's a. The whole vet. Mental health, jobs and community, ties, it's not just enough to do one of them. There has to be some place where i say. I'm back i belong. I know. What i'm doing. We have to expand, access, to telehealth, as well. Because a lot of people live in communities, that are are, rural. And they have these knees and just getting, on. On a computer, looking at, and talking, to a doc. Can make a big i i'm telling you what you know more about than, most p