The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have brought renewed attention to the needs of veterans and the ways in which we, as a nation, care for them upon their return home. It is our responsibility to provide these service members and their families with the care and benefits they have earned as they transition from active duty to civilian life.


Several issues regarding veterans and homelessness have become prominent, in part because of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. In November 2009, the VA announced a plan to end homelessness within five years. Both the VA and HUD have taken steps to increase housing and services for homeless veterans. Funding for VA programs has increased in recent years and Congress has appropriated funds to increase available units of permanent supportive housing through the HUD-VASH program. We have seen a steady decline in the number of homeless veterans since 2009, but even one homeless veteran is too many and our work must continue in ending homelessness among veterans.


The unemployment rate for veterans who served after September 2001 is higher than the unemployment rate for nonveterans. While this is an unacceptable statistic there are a number of federal programs that have been created to assist veterans in developing job skills and securing civilian employment. Broadly speaking, these programs can be divided into (1) general veterans’ programs, (2) programs that target veterans with service-connected disabilities, and (3) competitive grant programs that offer supplemental services but may not be available to veterans in all areas. While the various transition programs for veterans have proven successful it is important for us to continually monitor their success and seek ways to improve in order to get more people back to work.


The Veterans Health Administration (VHA), within the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), operates the nation's largest integrated health care delivery system, providing care to approximately 5.75 million unique veteran patients, and employs more than 270,000 full-time equivalent employees. Contrary to claims concerning promises of "free health care for life," not every veteran is automatically entitled to medical care from the VA. Eligibility for VA health care is based primarily on veteran status resulting from military service. All enrolled veterans are offered a standard medical benefits package, which includes (but is not limited to) inpatient and outpatient medical services, pharmaceuticals, durable medical equipment, and prosthetic devices.

Opening in 1952, the Kansas City Veterans Affairs Medical Center provides quality care to the men and women who have proudly served our nation. The medical center provides high quality, comprehensive primary and tertiary healthcare to Veterans in our area.


Memorializing WWI has been a passion of mine since before the days I was mayor of Kansas City. As you may know, during the war millions of soldiers passed through Kansas City via Union Station on their way to serve in the war.

The bluff that overlooks the train station that transported so many of our soldiers in those days was the perfect place to set up a memorial to honor them. In 1919, as the war was coming to an end work began to create the Liberty Memorial. The dedication ceremony that followed was the only event ever attended by all of the supreme allied leaders. It is a place that inspires reflection and offers  a chance to experience WWI in a way that is not found anywhere else in the country.

In 1998, a project to revitalize the memorial was created that would also expand the site by building a museum to better showcase WWI-related objects and documents. In 2004, legislation was introduced to designate the museum as the official National WWI Museum. 

I continue to work for national and international recognition of the Liberty Memorial, and all of the World War I veterans it honors. Recently in 2013, I helped create the WWI Centennial Commission that was established by Congress to plan, develop, and execute programs, projects and activities to commemorate the centennial of World War I. The commission will provide opportunities for people to learn about the history of WWI, the U.S.’s involvement in that war, and the war’s effects on the remainder of the 20th century. 

More on Veterans

Jun 3, 2021

(Kansas City, MO) – Yesterday, U.S. Representative Emanuel Cleaver, II (D-MO) presented a long-awaited medal and certificate to retired Army veteran, Steven Fuhr. After retiring from the Army in 2013, Mr. Fuhr initiated casework with Rep. Cleaver’s district offices in 2016, seeking assistance in obtaining requisite retirement documents and entitled, but unawarded, service medals. In April, Rep. Cleaver’s office received Mr. Fuhr’s Meritorious Service Medal and certificate from the Department of the Army.

Jan 2, 2020

Hello Friends,

Mar 28, 2019

(Washington, D.C.) – Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, II (D-MO) today introduced H.R. 1953, the “Hello Girls” Congressional Gold Medal Act of 2019, a bipartisan bill that would honor over 220 American women who served as phone operators with the U.S. Army Signal Corps in France during World War I. As phone operators, these women played a pivotal role in connecting American and French forces on the front lines of battle, helping to translate and efficiently communicate strategy. H.R.

Sep 25, 2018

For the full text of Congressman Cleaver's Speech, click here.

Kansas City's Sister Ship, USS Independence

Sep 25, 2018

Saturday, September 22, 2018

(Mobile, Alabama) - Congressman  Emanuel Cleaver, II delivered his speech for the christening of the USS Kansas City, LCS 22, today in a special ceremony today in Mobile Alabama. 

The LCS 22 can support modular weapons, sensor systems and a variety of manned and unmanned vehicles to capture and sustain littoral maritime supremacy. Kansas City is the eleventh of 17 Independence-variant LCS Austal USA has under contract with the U.S. Navy.

Sep 24, 2018

(Mobile, Alabama) - Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, II delivered his speech for the christening of the USS Kansas City, LCS 22, today in a special ceremony today in Mobile, Alabama.

The LCS 22 can support modular weapons, sensor systems and a variety of manned and unmanned vehicles to capture and sustain littoral maritime supremacy. Kansas City is the eleventh of 17 Independence-variant LCS Austal USA has under contract with the U.S. Navy.

May 16, 2018

(Washington, D.C) – Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, II is proud to announce the inclusion of $3 million for the U.S. World War I Centennial Commission (WWICC) in the draft of the Department of the Interior FY 2019 Appropriations Bill.

The World War I Centennial Commission was created in 2013 by an Act of Congress, sponsored by Congressman Cleaver and Congressman Ted Poe (R-TX) to honor, educate and commemorate soldiers and participants of World War I.

Jan 22, 2018

(Washington, D.C.) – Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, II intends to vote “no” on the short term spending bill. The country cannot continue to operate on piecemeal spending legislation. The bill on the House floor today would only provide funding for the next three weeks and fails to address the domestic and military spending caps to better support hard working families and to enhance our national security.

Sep 15, 2017

(Washington, D.C.) – Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, II is pleased to announce that the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) has awarded a grant of $1,882,260 for the expansion of the Missouri State Veterans Cemetery in Higginsville, MO.

“This is welcoming news for families of our fallen soldiers in the Fifth District of Missouri. They will have the opportunity to visit and honor their loved ones in an enhanced and newly renovated cemetery,” said Congressman Cleaver.