Two moments from this week, as we work to help America’s veterans and their families:

1. It is rare for House and Senate committees to hold joint hearings. But on Wednesday, our Veterans’ Affairs panels did just that, in order to hear the American Legion’s legislative priorities, and ways they want Congress to take action for our veterans.

The custom is for the Legion’s national commander to be introduced by a lawmaker from the same state. With a capacity crowd of Legionnaires on hand, Speaker Ryan did the honors for Commander Denise H. Rohan, who hails from Verona, Wisconsin. And here’s some of what he said: 

“We have made some really, really important strides for our veterans: increasing accountability at the VAexpanding the GI Bill. . . . Of course, this progress would not have been made if it weren't for our veterans’ service organizations, but particularly the American Legion.

“We in Southern Wisconsin are just so proud to have one of our own as the first woman in history to lead the Legion. Commander Rohan represents the best of what we have to offer in Wisconsin: she is selfless, she is inclusive, and she is beyond tireless. . . . She is inspiring Americans to remember our solemn obligation to take care of our nation's veterans.”

Speaker Ryan and POW Sam Johnson
2. The House recently passed a measure to redouble our efforts to bring home American prisoners of war (POW) and service members missing in action. All told, nearly 83,000 American personnel remain unaccounted for from past conflicts. That means many families are still waiting for closure about their loved ones.

And so on Tuesday, Speaker Ryan affixed his signature to H. Res. 129, which directs the government to make every effort to identify “all United States personnel designated as unaccounted-for from past wars and conflicts around the world.”

Speaker Ryan was joined by the author of the resolution, Rep. Sam Johnson (R-TX), who recently marked the 45th anniversary of coming home after nearly seven years as a POW in the Hanoi Hilton.

This measure, Rep. Johnson says, is “in keeping with America’s promise to leave no man behind.”