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Disability Assistance & Memorial Affairs Subcommittee Holds Legislative Hearing on 18 Bills

Today, Rep. Morgan Luttrell (R-Texas), the Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs, delivered the following opening remarks, as prepared, at the start of the subcommittee’s legislative hearing on 18 bills which would enhance the delivery of benefits and services to veterans and their survivors:

Good morning.

Thank you all for joining us today.

We are here to discuss eighteen bills that would modernize and improve the delivery of benefits for veterans and their survivors.

The bills we will discuss today would:

• Improve access to V.A. burial benefits for servicemembers, veterans, and veterans' survivors, and provide more choices for survivors to honor their veteran loved ones buried in the U.S. and overseas;

• Protect veterans' Constitutional due process and Second Amendment rights;

• Ensure quality and efficiency in the V.A. claims process by providing automation technology tools to process all veterans’ and survivors’ claims, and by providing training for claims based on military sexual trauma;

• Streamline the V.A. claims process by simplifying the forms that veterans and survivors must complete, and improving the notices that they receive regarding who may represent them on their claims;

• Provide V.A. with more options for the expansion of the Dayton National Cemetery;

• And improve access to disability compensation examinations for rural and Tribal veterans by allowing examiners to meet veterans where they are.

I am proud to have introduced one of the bills on today’s agenda.

My bill, H.R. 6507, the Mark Our Place Act, would ensure that all Medal of Honor recipients are recognized, regardless of when they served.

Currently, V.A. is authorized to furnish or replace a headstone, grave marker, or medallion for Medal of Honor recipients who served on or after April 6, 1917. My bill would remove the date limitation.

These servicemembers and veterans displayed extraordinary valor, and my bill would ensure that every Medal of Honor recipient, no matter when they served, is properly honored where they have been laid to rest.

I look forward to working with Chairman Bost and my colleagues on this subcommittee to advance the many important proposals today.

My colleagues have worked hard on each of these bills to increase access to V.A. disability and memorial benefits for veterans and their survivors;

streamline the V.A. claims process;

and expand the services provided by the American Battle Monuments Commission for the families of those servicemembers who made the ultimate sacrifice overseas.

I look forward to discussing these bills on our agenda and hearing from the witnesses who have joined us today.

I now yield to Ranking Member Pappas for his opening remarks.

Thank you, Ranking Member Pappas.
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