For their service and sacrifice, it is our duty to take care of our warfighters, which includes ensuring our veterans survivors are not saddled with burdensome costs upon their passing. That’s why I introduced the Veterans Cemetery Benefit Correction Act (H.R. 4910), which would require the Department of Interior to provide an outer burial receptacle for each new veteran’s grave in a national cemetery under the control of the National Park Service (NPS). In Georgia, this would include Andersonville National Cemetery in Andersonville. H.R. 4910 has passed both Chambers of Congress and has been set to the White House to be signed into law. I look forward to President Trump signing this into law so that we can ensure that our veterans and their families are provided appropriate benefits in all of our federal cemeteries.
In addition to H.R. 4910, Members of the 115th Congress have prioritized reform of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to better assist in caring for our veterans. This includes passage of the following bills:
Bills Signed into Law
- H.R. 3949: Veteran Apprenticeship and Labor Opportunity Reform (VALOR) Act - Simplifies an approval process by allowing companies to register their apprenticeship programs with one central approval agency.
- H.R. 3819: The Department of Veterans Affairs Expiring Authorities Act of 2017 – Extends a number of expiring authorities impacting veterans’ benefits, health care, and homeless programs, including nursing home care, support services for caregivers, transportation, child care assistance, adaptive sports programs and housing and home loan services.
- H.R. 3218: The Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017 – Remove time restrictions to use the GI Bill, enabling future eligible recipients to use their GI bill benefits for their entire lives, as opposed to the current 15-year timeline.
- H.R. 3122: Veterans Care Financial Protection Act of 2017 – Directs VA to work with federal agencies and states to develop and implement standards that protect individuals who are eligible for this increased pension from dishonest, predatory or otherwise unlawful practices.
- H.R. 2288: The Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act of 2017 – Modernizes the appeals process at the Department of Veterans Affairs.
- H.R. 1725: The Quicker Veterans Benefits Delivery Act of 2017 – Reduce the number of unnecessary disability examinations by requiring additional information be provided to Congress regarding VA’s use of private medical evidence in support of claims for disability compensation.
- H.R. 1545: The VA Prescription Data Accountability Act – Clarifies current law to stipulate that VHA is required to disclose information to state controlled substance monitoring programs for anyone – veteran or non-veteran – who is prescribed these medications through VA.
- H.R. 1329: The Veterans’ Compensation COLA Act of 2017 – Increase the rates of compensation for veterans with service-connected disabilities as well as the rates of dependency and indemnity compensation for the survivors of certain disabled veterans as of December 1st, 2017.
- H.R. 244: HIRE Vets Act – Establish a HIRE Vets Medallion Program to recognize companies for their efforts to employ veterans.
- S. 1266: The Enhancing Veteran Care Act – Authorize VA to contract with non-profits that accredit health care organizations to investigate VA medical centers.
- S. 1094: The Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017 – Creates a new streamlined and efficient process to remove, demote or suspend any VA employee for poor performance or misconduct with a concrete shortened timeline, while still protecting employees’ due process rights, and would provide them with the right to appeal the action. It would also provide expanded protections for whistleblowers and would specifically bar VA from using this removal authority if the employee has an open whistleblower complaint/case with the Office of Special Counsel.
- S. 324: The State Veterans Home Adult Day Health Care Improvement Act of 2017 – Directs VA to enter into an agreement or a contract with state veterans homes to pay for adult day health care for a veteran eligible for, but not receiving, nursing home care.
- S. 114: A bill to authorize appropriations for the Veterans Choice Program – Provides $2 billion to continue the Choice Program for six months while Congress works on other reforms to the Choice Program. It would also authorize 28 major medical facility leases and enhance the recruitment, retention and training of the VA workforce.
- Senate companion to H.R. 369: Eliminating the Sunset Date of the Choice Act – Eliminates the statutory sunset date for the Choice Program and instead allow the program to continue until the original funding has been expended.
- H.R. 3562: To amend title 38, United States Code, to authorize the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to furnish assistance for adaptations of residences of veterans in rehabilitation programs – Gives VA-designated appraisers the ability to rely solely on information from approved third parties, such as a desktop appraisal, when determining a home’s value for a VA home loan.
You can also click here to read a full list of veterans-related bills introduced into the House in the 115th Congress and those that have passed the House and are awaiting action in the Senate.