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Submission For The Record of Paralyzed Veterans of America

Chairman Stutzman, Ranking Member Braley, and members of the Subcommittee, Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA), thanks you for the opportunity to submit a statement for the record regarding the proposed legislation being considered today.  PVA appreciates the fact that you are addressing these important issues with the intention of improving benefits for veterans.  We particularly support any focus placed on meeting the complex needs of the newest generation of veterans, even as we continue to improve services for those who have served in the past. 

H.R. 1383, “Restoring GI Bill Fairness Act of 2011”

PVA does not support H.R. 1383 as it is currently introduced.  We support the concept of H.R. 1383 that will temporally preserve higher rates for tuition and fees for programs of education at non-public institutions of higher learning.

PVA opposes Section 3 of H.R. 1383.  This section will limit the cost of living increases of the monthly stipends for veterans who rely on this funding to support themselves and their families while they prepare for a career after serving their country.  Even though the rate of total inflation has remained low in recent years, we are witnessing dramatic increases in transportation costs.  Students use their automobile for travel to school, work, and other obligations and higher fuel costs are now affecting food, heating and other necessities.  With the price of gasoline increasing each month their monthly stipend must be adjusted each year to help these veterans remain in school.

H.R. 802, legislation to establish a VetStar Award Program

PVA supports H.R. 802, a bill to establish a VetStar Award Program.  During this time of high unemployment it is unfortunate that the unemployment rate among veterans is several points higher than the national average.   While the federal government has directed its agencies to increase the hiring of veterans and those agencies that assist veterans to increase their efforts to help veterans enter the workforce, veteran’s unemployment rate remains unacceptably high.  This bill, H.R. 802 will help to promote and recognize private sector employers that put forth extra effort to employ veterans.

H.R. 1657, legislation to enforce penalties for misrepresentation of a business as a small veteran owned business

PVA supports H.R. 802, a bill to enforce penalties for those that misrepresent their business when competing for government contracts.  PVA has been a member of the Veterans’ Entrepreneurship Task Force (VET-Force) since its creation.  This is a coalition of Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business and Veteran Owned Small Businesses that work together to identify and remove barriers that prevent these businesses from participating in government contracts.  This problem has been an ongoing issue with this organization.  Misrepresenting a business for the purpose of receiving a government contract should be a federal crime.   Financial penalties for businesses that perpetrate this misrepresentation would discourage businesses from falsifying information to the federal government.  PVA supports this legislation.   

Andrew Connolly Veterans’ Housing Act

PVA supports this legislation that would extend to December 31, 2016, the authority of the Secretary of Veterans’ Affairs to provide specially adapted housing assistance to individuals residing temporarily in housing owned by a family member.  Making a home accessible for mobility impaired veterans is an important issue for PVA.  Extending this program for five years will allow more veterans to take advantage of this benefit which allows them to stay with their families while rehabilitating and adjusting to their new lives.  PVA strongly supported the legislation to create the temporary housing grant when it recently became law.   PVA supports the extension of this benefit.