Washington, D.C. – Eastern Washington Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05) joined Fox News Sunday with Shannon Bream to discuss the Wounded Warrior Bill of Rights (H.R. 3517). This is legislation she introduced last month to return authority over wounded warriors back to the military chain of command – where it was since George Washington was in command – and keep it there for the entirety of the IDES process. It also establishes additional due process protections to improve the lives of wounded warriors in the system and make sure not a single person ever slips through the cracks again.
Cathy was joined on the show by Retd. Major Will Ostan, Founder of Arc of Justice, who personally experienced the breakdown in the medical separation process in 2018. His organization is focused on fixing the system for those who will come next with the goal of preventing homelessness and suicide among the next generation of veterans.
You can watch their full interview here:
Excerpts and highlights from the interview are below:
SHANNON BREAM: Protecting and supporting our wounded warriors is a critical part of the mission. But there are recent complaints that servicemembers are facing too much red tape when it comes to the decision over whether they can continue to serve on active duty. Major Will Ostan, who disagreed with the decision about his medical case, says it has to change. He founded Arc of Justice, an advocacy group calling for a Wounded Warriors Bill of Rights. We sat down with Ostan and Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, who is hoping to get a bill through Congress.
RETD. MAJOR WILL OSTAN: From 1775 until 2018, the military chain of command had authority over its wounded warriors in the medical separation process. When Defense Health Agency came online in 2018, there was confusion, and so now there’s a gap in authority, and wounded warriors have been mismanaged. That’s what the Wounded Warrior Bill of Rights is seeking to fix.
CATHY MCMORRIS RODGERS: This is really a simple fix to what may be a complex problem impacting our wounded warriors. But it would really make sure that it’s the chain of command that is involved in these decisions and make sure that our wounded warriors have due process.
BREAM: This was instituted to try to help people, but it sounds like for some people they’re getting stuck in this bureaucracy and it’s not helping.
OSTAN: That’s exactly right. I’ve had a client who’s literally a couple of years away from a 20 year vested retirement, 11 children – boom – no 20 year vested retirement. So, this runs the gamut from the very end of a career as a justice issue for long term pension and health care, to also, we’re losing our future warfighters and our middle management, which is where I come in. This is not a time to be mismanaging active duty wounded warriors.
BREAM: Congresswoman, what do you think are the odds of getting this through the House, through the Senate, getting something done?
RODGERS: Well, we got some momentum built last Congress, and we’re just continuing to educate, to raise awareness as to the importance of addressing this issue for our wounded warriors. You know, for so many who have served – and they find themselves in a situation where they feel like they’re being ushered out of the military – we want them to feel like we are going to come alongside them and give them more time to recoup, to get healthy again, or to continue to serve.
BREAM: Ok, so what’s the best case scenario here?
RODGERS: The best case scenario is that we’re going to continue to build support, we’re going to raise awareness, we’re going to get more Republicans and Democrats in the House and the Senate to come on board with this legislation – with the Wounded Warriors Bill of Rights – and we’re going to get it signed into law this year.
BREAM: So Will, how does that make you feel? I mean, this is something where the clock is over for you – you fought this for yourself – and then you realize that there were so many other people impacted, and you decided then to pick up that mantle and fight the fight for them.
BREAM: Yeah, so I took a vow – and I’m going to get emotional here – but when I realized in 2019 that I was going to lose my fight, I went to my grandfather’s grave at Arlington, and I just said, you know, Grandpa, I will never stop fighting until the Wounded Warrior Bill of Rights has passed.