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Amata welcomes signing of VA Mission Act into federal law

Source: Office of the Congresswoman

Washington, D.C. — Congresswoman Aumua Amata welcomed this week’s veterans’ legislative activity in Washington, highlighted by President Trump’s signing into law the bipartisan Mission Act to reform the VA.

Amata cosponsored this major legislation, which originated in the Veterans’ Affairs Committee on which she serves. Also Thursday, she participated in two Subcommittee hearings on veterans’ topics.

The Mission Act consolidates and streamlines community care options for veterans. President Trump invited Congresswoman Amata to the White House for yesterday’s bill signing ceremony, and although she could not attend this time, she celebrates these ongoing improvements to the VA on behalf of our veterans.

 “We’re proud of our veterans, and we have a special lifelong commitment to our veterans in this country,” said Amata. “The Veterans Affairs Committee, and the VA itself under the Trump Administration, is working through a challenging reform process for the VA to improve services and care.”

Specifically, the VA Mission Act, now law, bolsters the VA’s community care programs; funds the current, outgoing Veterans Choice program during the transition phase to make certain veterans receive the same care through the current program until the new Veterans Community Care Program is fully in effect; adds new flexibility in the VA’s infrastructure portfolio and institutes a reformed review process; grows and strengthens the Caregivers program, adding eligible veterans from all eras of service; and makes reforms to improve the VA’s workforce.

Thursday, Congresswoman Amata and the Veterans’ Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs Subcommittee held a hearing titled, “Honoring Heroes: Memorializing Our Nation’s Veterans.” In this hearing, Amata highlighted the need for a better VA procedure to provide access in American Samoa to VA grave markers.

Amata also participated in a hearing of the Veterans’ Health Subcommittee titled, “An Assessment of the Potential Health Effects of Burn Pit Exposure among Veterans.” She announced she is cosponsoring two related bipartisan veterans’ health bills: HR 1279, the “Helping Veterans Exposed to Burn Pits Act,” introduced by Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty (D-CT); and HR 5671, the “Burn Pits Accountability Act,” introduced by Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI).

Together, Members of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee have passed and introduced a series of legislative solutions dating back to last year, with the aim of seeing major upgrades in services, reduction of backlogs, faster claims and improved access to health care.

 “Our veterans in American Samoa have extra challenges in getting care, because it often includes traveling long distances,” continued Congresswoman Amata. “The VA is in a time of transition, and we continue to both support those efforts and insist on clear oversight by Congress so our veterans get the quality services they deserve.”