As veterans, we have each spent over two decades of our lives advocating for America’s Veterans on a bipartisan basis. In all those years, no Speaker of the House fought harder or accomplished more for Veterans than Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiOvernight Health Care: Moderna to apply for emergency use authorization for COVID-19 vaccine candidate | Hospitals brace for COVID-19 surge | US more than doubles highest number of monthly COVID-19 cases House Democrats urge congressional leaders to support .1B budget for IRS Bipartisan Senate group holding coronavirus relief talks amid stalemate MORE. That is a fact. While other members of Congress supported veterans with their words, Pelosi supported veterans with her deeds, with her strong leadership. We know because we saw it first-hand.

When veterans’ health care and mental health care were shamefully underfunded over a decade ago, it was Nancy Pelosi who successfully passed a VA budget that for the first time ever matched the request of the Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs) coalition, the Independent Budget, co-authored by Disabled American Veterans, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Paralyzed Veterans of America and AMVETS. It was a new day for veterans after years of broken promises from Congress.


When Veterans were facing reduced college education benefits, Pelosi, as Speaker, championed the passage of the Post 9/11 GI Bill in 2008, an historic achievement that was the largest investment ever in higher education. Since its passage, over 2 million Veterans have been able to pursue their dream of a college education. American Legion National Commander Marty Conatser said in 2010, “We applaud Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi…Thanks in large part to her committed leadership, this momentous piece of legislation will resonate as a landmark in American history.”

When the VA faced budget uncertainties and potential government shutdowns, Speaker Pelosi passed the first-ever two-year advanced appropriations bill for the Department of Veterans Affairs, unlike any other federal department. Deserving Veterans, their dependents, survivors and caregivers have since benefited greatly from this innovative budget reform. Speaker Pelosi was also responsible for securing the largest increase in Veterans funding in history—including historic increases to mental health, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury. In addition, she led legislative efforts to improve access to gender-specific health care for women veterans, create new tax credits for businesses that hire veterans, and quadruple the travel reimbursement for veterans traveling to receive care.

When American servicemen and women gave their lives in duty to country in Iraq and Afghanistan, Speaker Pelosi personally pushed the Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry Act into law in 2009. This law provides a full college scholarship and GI education benefits for every child who has lost a mother or father in service to country since Sept. 11, 2001. Pelosi understood that our nation could never repay our debt of gratitude to families who have sacrificed so much, but thanks to her leadership, these families of the fallen can know that all their children will have an opportunity to attend college. And, the Fry Act now extends college benefits to surviving spouses. In passing the Fry Act, Speaker Pelosi didn’t just prove her effectiveness, she showed us her heart for those who have served and sacrificed for our nation.

Unlike any Speaker before or since, Speaker Pelosi met multiple times a year with dozens of VSOs. For hours at a time, she would listen to our concerns and priorities, and discuss solutions. She didn’t just listen, she then took historic action. Even in the minority, she has continued those roundtables and her work across the aisle to pass bipartisan legislation, including expanding caregiver benefits to all war eras, better aligning VA health care with care in the community, modernizing the appeals process for disability claims, updating the Post 9/11 GI bill, and holding VA accountable.

It is not our place to tell newly elected or current members of Congress who they should support to be the new Speaker of the House—this is their right and responsibility. But, with so many newly elected members of Congress, including veterans, we felt it was our responsibility to share the incredible legacy of Nancy Pelosi’s leadership in behalf of our nation’s veterans and their families. If she becomes the next Speaker, we are confident as veterans, community leaders, and Americans that Nancy Pelosi will ensure that Congress honors our Veterans not just with words and speeches, but with actions and deeds.

Joe Violante was the National Legislative Director for the Disabled American Veterans from 1997 to 2015. Steve Robertson was the National Legislative Director for the American Legion from 1993 to 2010. Dennis Cullinan was the National Legislative Director for the Veterans of Foreign Wars from 1997 to 2009.