Amata and other leaders tout House accomplishments for Veterans
Washington, D.C. – Thursday, July 26, 2018 — Congresswoman Aumua Amata joined colleagues on the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs in speaking at a press conference in the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center to highlight recent progress and the path forward on veterans’ legislation. The Veterans’ Affairs Committee has been on a busy pace, with 72 bills passed by the full House of Representatives, and of those, 26 so far have been signed into law by President Trump.
“American Samoa is not a large place, but it has an outsized per capita role in our Armed Forces,” said Amata in her speech. “In fact, our local Army recruiter has the highest enlistment rate in the nation. As a result, we have a lot of veterans in American Samoa.”
“Because of our islands’ geographic and economic isolation, our veterans have extra challenges in getting access to health care,” Congresswoman Amata continued. “Often, that includes an overnight flight to Honolulu for some services. It’s important to continue focusing on improving the health care available on our islands and look to Telehealth to add options. I am hopeful the new Hawaiki cable will be a building block for Telehealth capabilities locally.”
“Our nation has a great commitment to our veterans,” Amata concluded. “I’m pleased to serve with people that take that commitment seriously on behalf of our veterans.”
Highlights of recent Veterans’ legislation include the ongoing reforms to the VA signed into law through the VA MISSION Act, which consolidates the Choice Program and ensures its funding to improve care, expanding the VA Caregiver Program. Other key accomplishments include VA accountability measures, expanding the GI Bill benefits, continuing to modernize and streamline the appeals process for veterans making claims, and conducting a major oversight review of the VA’s assets.
In Chairman Roe’s closing remarks, he spoke of Rep. Amata and Rep. González-Colón and the Territories, as transcribed: “These remarkable women – they bring so much to our Committee, a view that we did not have before. I want to give a shout-out to both of them,” said Chairman Roe.
He continued, “You just heard the challenges that you have in American Samoa. Those are all things that you don’t think about when you’re here in the U.S. They bring that perspective, which is very important, because they represent veterans.”
This week’s Committee activity included a Wednesday roundtable listening session with veterans to discuss VA health, and on Thursday, a hearing assessing VA’s progress in efforts to implement reforms to speed up the appeals process for veterans.
Congresswoman Amata spoke at the press conference with Chairman Dr. Phil Roe of Tennessee, Vice Chairman Gus Bilirakis of Florida, all the Subcommittee Chairmen – Rep. Dr. Neal Dunn of Florida, Rep. Jim Banks of Indiana, Rep. Mike Bost of Illinois, Rep. Jodey Arrington of Texas, and Rep. Jack Bergman of Michigan, who is a retired Lieutenant General in the U.S. Marine Corps – along with colleagues Rep. Mike Coffman of Colorado and Rep. Jenniffer González-Colón of Puerto Rico.