For Country Caucus Announces Chairs, Members for 117th Congress

February 25, 2021
Press Release
Jared Golden and Van Taylor will Co-Chair Growing Bipartisan Caucus of U.S. Veterans

WASHINGTON – The For Country Caucus, a non-partisan group of military veterans serving in Congress and dedicated to working together in a nonpartisan way to create a more productive government, announced new leadership and a growing caucus membership for the 117th Congress.

Congressmen Jared Golden (D-ME-02) and Van Taylor (R-TX-03) will lead the caucus as co-chairs through 2022 as its ranks swell to 25 members. Congressmen Jim Baird (R-IN-04) and Salud Carbajal (D-CA-24) will serve as vice-chairs.

“Serving this country in the military gives you the skills to work as a team with Americans of different backgrounds and beliefs, for a cause greater than yourself,” said co-chairs Jared Golden and Van Taylor. “As co-chairs of the For Country Caucus, we’re honored to lead this bipartisan group of veterans as we continue to build on the foundation that’s been laid over the past two years. The mission of this caucus — to set aside political differences in the pursuit of policies that will benefit the country — has never been more important, and together we can set that example in Congress.” 

The For Country Caucus is a group of principled military veteran members who strive to create a Congress that is less polarized, more efficient, and is trusted by Americans. Together, they share a vision of a Congress that is strategic in purpose, focused on action, and where elected officials put our country first. Members of the For Country Caucus seek a Congress where members serve with integrity, civility, and courage.

Members of the 117th Congress For Country Caucus include Representatives Jason Crow (D-CO-06), Don Bacon (R-NE-02), Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA-06), Jack Bergman (R-MI-01), Scott Franklin (R-FL-15), Kai Kahele (D-HI-02), Mike Gallagher (R-WI-08), Mike Garcia (R-CA-25), Conor Lamb (D-PA-17), Tony Gonzales (R-TX-23), Adam Kinzinger (R-IL-16), Elaine Luria (D-VA-02), Brian Mast (R-FL-18), Peter Meijer (R-MI-03), Seth Moulton (D-MA-06), Mariannette Miller Meeks (R-IA-02), Jimmy Panetta (D-CA-20), August Pfluger (R-TX-11), Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ-11), Greg Steube (R-FL-17), and Michael Waltz (R-FL-06).

“In the military, it didn’t matter what political party the person fighting alongside you belonged to. All that mattered was if they had your back. I want to bring the same civility and integrity I learned in the Marine Corps to my service in Congress, which is why I’m honored to serve as Vice Chair of the For Country Caucus,” said Vice Chair Representative Salud Carbajal (D-CA-24). “Trust in government has plummeted thanks to the partisan gridlock that has come to define Congress. The For Country Caucus bridges the divide, bringing veterans from both sides of the aisle together to unite behind a common mission: to create a more collaborative government that puts our country and our people first. I’ve always said that there is more that unites us as Americans than divides us and I look forward to working with my colleagues on this caucus to turn that ethos into action.”

“It is an honor and privilege being chosen as Vice Chair of the For Country Caucus. In a time when deep divisions exist within our country, it is crucial for our nation’s leaders to serve as role models for integrity, civility, and courage,” said Vice Chair Representative Jim Baird (R-IN-04). “As military veterans, all of us understand what it means to serve our nation and the sacrifice it entails. I look forward to leading and working with the caucus to achieve common-sense solutions that move our country forward.”

“When I fought in Iraq and Afghanistan, I served with soldiers from every background. It didn’t matter if they were a Democrat, Republican, or Independent, we focused on the mission and what we had in common,” said Representative Jason Crow (D-CO-06). “At a time when Congress feels more divided than ever, the For Country Caucus is an important way we can continue to break down barriers and move our country forward.”

The For Country Caucus has been a leader in advocating for bipartisan legislation among a sea of divisiveness,” said Representative Don Bacon (R-NE-02). “I am thrilled to be a part of this consensus building group once again, and look forward to accomplishing great things for Nebraska and out country. Our group of veterans want to make a difference for our country and cut through all the vitriol and hyper-partisanship.”

“I helped found the For Country Caucus because I believe that if anyone is capable of bridging the political divide, it’s veterans,” said Representative Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA-06). “Our commitment is not to our respective political parties but to our Constitution and country. I look forward to working across the aisle with my fellow veterans as we work to heal this nation, we’re all proud to call home.” 

“I’m proud to be a member of the bipartisan For Country Caucus. Far too often the strong, bipartisan work done every day in D.C. is drowned out by the noise of partisan bickering,” said Representative Jack Bergman (R-MI-01). “This caucus, comprised of men and women who have served in our Nation’s uniform, will continue to focus on policy to better our communities and country as whole.”

“Defending my country as a naval aviator was a tremendous honor, and I am grateful for the opportunity to continue to serve Florida and America in Congress,” said Representative Scott Franklin (R-FL-15). “I’m excited to join my fellow veterans in the For Country Caucus. We have experience putting political views aside for the greater good, and I look forward to working together in a nonpartisan manner to address the serious challenges facing our nation.”

“At a time when the country is deeply divided, the For Country Caucus plays an important role in bringing together veterans to find bipartisan solutions to our nation’s problems,” said Representative Mike Gallagher (R-WI-08). “Veterans know how to put aside disagreements to complete the mission at hand, and I have no doubt that the members of this caucus will do just that and find ways to cut through partisanship in the 117th Congress.”

“I am honored to join the For Country Caucus, a principled group of bipartisan lawmakers that put country before party. I am excited to work with this bipartisan group of military veterans, including co-chairs Congressman Van Taylor and Congressman Jared Golden, to enact policies that unite our nation and provide prosperity and security for Americans. Now more than ever, we need to come together on behalf of all Americans and let our differences be a driving force for positive change,” said Representative Mike Garcia (R-CA-25).

“We have a lot of work to do in Congress to address the COVD-19 pandemic, get our economy moving again, invest in infrastructure and create jobs. As veterans, we understand the importance of putting partisan politics aside and working together to advance the policies that will move us forward,” said Representative Conor Lamb (D-PA-17).

"My life has been driven by my values - honor, courage and commitment – and those beliefs are what motivated me to join the Navy at age eighteen,” said Representative Tony Gonzalez (R-TX-23). “I look forward to working with my fellow veterans in the For Country Caucus to introduce commonsense legislation focused on bettering the country we served.”

“I’m proud to serve on the For Country Caucus and join my colleagues in working to bring civility back to our political discourse. We need to put our principles first and the needs of our country first,” said Representative Adam Kinzinger (R-IL-16). “The anger and the fear have been toxic, dividing us further and further apart. With courage and open communication, I look forward to the strategic policy and collaborative efforts that the For Country Caucus will achieve in the 117th Congress and beyond.”

“I’m honored to again join the For Country Caucus to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle on issues that are critical for our nation,” said Representative Elaine Luria (D-VA-02). “As a twenty year Navy veteran, I know that we must transcend partisan politics to find meaningful solutions to address national security and encourage public service. I look forward to continuing this important work in the 117th Congress.”

“The For Country Caucus has a strong track record of working in a nonpartisan way to help veterans and create a more productive government. I look forward to continuing to work towards a less polarized Congress that works for all Americans,” said Representative Brian Mast (R-FL-18).

“I’m excited to be joining the For County Caucus in the 117th Congress alongside my colleagues who have served in uniform, and I look forward to working across the aisle to find common-sense solutions to our nation’s challenges,” said Peter Meijer (R-MI-03). “The members of this caucus know what it means to put their country above themselves and I am hopeful that our bipartisan work will help restore public faith in our institutions and set a strong example for the rest of the country.”

“Americans consistently rank the military as the country’s most trusted institution. They rank Congress as the least,” Representative Seth Moulton (D-MA-06) said. “By working together, veterans in Congress can help change the culture. This caucus allows us to work together and hold each other accountable for getting things done on behalf of the people who count on us to serve them, especially right now. This caucus puts principles before politics.”

“I am very proud to be a part of the For Country Caucus. This bipartisan group has an incredible amount of experience in the military and national security field, which will be invaluable in ensuring that our government works for the people,” said Representative Mariannette Miller Meeks (R-IA-02). “At a time when our country seems so divided, it is important to find areas where we can work together and find common ground. I am looking forward to working with my colleagues to find commonsense solutions that deliver real results for our constituents.”

“The members of the For Country Caucus acknowledge and appreciate that our service in Congress can be very similar to when we served in the military.  By focusing on working together to get the job done, we can put the people of our communities over politics,” said Representative Jimmy Panetta (D-CA-20). “We understand that, at times, politics pervades policy decision making.  However, the For Country Caucus allows us to focus on the mission to serve our constituents.  As the co-founder and former co-chair of the caucus, I look forward to the bipartisan leadership of co-chairs Rep. Golden and Rep. Taylor and to working with my For Country colleagues in the 117th Congress.

“I first swore the oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States as a young officer serving in the U.S. Air Force,” said Representative August Pfluger (R-TX-11). “The For Country Caucus is an extension of that oath, as members promise to put country before partisanship, and people over politics. I look forward to working with other principled military veterans in Congress to advance the best interests of this great nation.”     

“To solve the complex issues we face and heal the divides in our nation, legislators must work together and find common ground. My fellow veteran colleagues understand the importance of service to country, teamwork, and prudent problem-solving,” said Representative Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ-11). “We formed this caucus to bring those much-needed values to Washington and I look forward to continuing the work of the For Country Caucus in the 117th Congress.” 

“The U.S. faces a number of challenges that transcend partisanship and I look forward to again serving with my fellow veterans in Congress to identify solutions for our country,” said Representative Mike Waltz (FL-06). “There are a number of issues we can continue to work together on including national security, providing a pipeline for national service to restore the foundation of community, and treating our veterans with respect.”

In the 116th Congress, the For Country Caucus built a strong track record and got results. The caucus and its members successfully worked to pass a number of national service-oriented provisions into law, including: 

  • Fallen Heroes Family Travel Act (H.R. 3065): Authorized reimbursement to Gold Star families for the costs of transporting fallen servicemembers’ remains to a national cemetery (Became law in FY20 NDAA)
  • Better Military Housing Act (H.R. 2811): Established a tenant “bill of rights” and sets minimum acceptable livability standards for military personnel and their families (Became law in FY20 NDAA)
  • Widow’s Tax Repeal (H.R. 553): Phased out the Widow’s Tax (Became Law in FY20 NDAA)
  • Afghan Allies Protection Act (H.R. 2796): Authorized 4,000 additional visas for Afghan allies and extended the application period to 2021 (Became law in FY20 NDAA)
  • Full Military Honors Act (H.R. 1019): Authorized full military honors for veterans who were awarded the Medal of Honor or prisoner-of-war medal (Became law in FY20 NDAA)
  • Childcare Resources for Surviving Family Members: Expanded financial assistance to civilian providers of childcare services for Gold Star families (Became law in FY20 NDAA)
  • Meetings of Service Chiefs and Surviving Families: Enacted a requirement for senior military officials to meet with survivors of deceased service members to receive feedback on issues affecting survivors (Became law in FY20 NDAA)
  • National Suicide Hotline Designation Act (H.R. 4194): Designated 9-8-8 as the universal telephone number for a national suicide prevention and mental health crisis hotline (Became Law)
  • National Cyber Director Act (H.R. 7331): Established the office of the National Cyber Director within the Executive Office of the President (Became law in FY21 NDAA)
  • Gold Star Families Park Pass Act (H.R. 5998): Made the National Parks and Federal Recreational Land Pass free to members of Gold Star families (Became law in FY21 NDAA)
  • Legal Services for Homeless Veterans Act (H.R. 3749): Established grants for entities that provide legal services for homeless veterans (Became law in H.R. 7105)