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U.S. House passes three Veterans’ bills

Vice Chairman Amata in Veterans Committee
House Veterans’ Affairs Committee takes action on 11 more
Source: Congresswoman Uifa’atali Amata’s D.C. staff

Washington, D.C. —  House of Representives passed three bills addressing various Veterans’ issues that originated in the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee. Committee Vice Chairman Uifa’atali Amata is a cosponsor of the bipartisan Elizabeth Dole Home Care Act of 2023 (Dole Act), H.R. 542, sponsored by Rep. Julia Brownley (D-CA).

Over 3 million veterans are aged 65 or older, making up half of VA’s active population. As more veterans reach this point in their lives, many are choosing to age at home, also referred to as “aging-in-place” instead of going into long-term care facilities such as a nursing home. Expanding VA’s home healthcare services is a necessity in achieving the evolving veteran population’s preferences. The Dole Act expands VA’s HCBS programs to support more veterans through geriatric or extended non-institutional care.

H.R. 3848, Housing our Military Veterans Effectively (HOME) Act, would increase the GPD rate from 115% to 133% to account for inflation since 2021, and allow VA Homeless Program Office would also be allowed to provide bedding, food, hygiene items, shelter, blankets, rideshares to medical appointments, and counselor care. This is comprehensive legislation to bring veterans out of homelessness nationwide.

H.R. 3581, COPE Act, authorizes the VA to award grants to implement, coordinate, improve, or enhance mental health counseling, treatment, or support for family caregivers of veterans participating in the family caregiver program.

NEW LEGISLATION

In other Veterans’ news in Congress, on Tuesday the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee passed 11 bills for consideration by the full House.

Vice Chairman Amata is cosponsoring H.R. 1753, Jax Act, named after female Veteran Jaclyn “Jax” Scott, is led by Rep. Darrel Issa of California, to ensure that certain members of the Armed Forces who served in female cultural support teams receive proper credit for such service.

She is also cosponsoring H.R. 522, Deliver for Veterans Act, led by Congressman Jim Moylan of Guam, which would authorize the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to provide or assist in providing a vehicle adapted for operation by disabled individuals to eligible Veterans.

Vice Chairman Amata said, “It’s great to see these bills pass, as these legislative efforts address many different issues in Veterans’ services, and result from listening to Veterans throughout the year.”

Additional bills passed this week by the Committee are:

H.R. 5938, Veterans Exam Expansion Act of 2023;

H.R. 5890, Every Veterans Claim Act of 2023;

H.R. 3722, Daniel J. Harvey, Jr. and Adam Lambert Improving Service member Transition to Reduce Veteran Suicide Act;

H.R. 3738, To amend title 38, United States Code, to establish in the Department of Veterans Affairs the Veterans Economic Opportunity and Transition Administration, and for other purposes;

H.R. 5914, To amend title 38, United States Code, to improve the processes to approve programs of education for purposes of the educational assistance programs of the Department of Veterans Affairs, and for other purposes;

H.R. 5785, Edith Nourse Rodger’s STEM Scholarship Opportunity Act;

H.R. 3790, Justice for ALS Veterans Act of 2023;

H.R. 4016, Veteran Fraud Reimbursement Act;

H.R. 4190, Restoring Benefits to Defrauded Veterans Act.

Chairman Mike Bost said, “(Tuesday), our Committee passed 11 eleven bills to deliver on our promise of improving the Transition Assistance Program, bolstering veteran and transitioning service member mental health initiatives, improving the delivery of education benefits to student veterans, fixing the survivor benefits process for veterans living with ALS and their caregivers, and modernizing the overall disability claims process.

“With the influx of new veterans seeking care, benefits, and services following the passage of the PACT Act last year, it’s more important than ever to make sure this entire VA process is as straightforward and efficient as possible from start to finish. Which is why I am happy to see each of these bills marked up before the end of this year, and hope to see them considered in the House very soon.”