April 06, 2022

Chairman Takano Delivers Opening Remarks at Markup on 17 Bipartisan Bills

Press Contact

Jenni Geurink (202-819-4684)  


WASHINGTON, D.C. —Today, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Mark Takano (D-Calif) delivered opening remarks at the Full Committee Markup on 17 bipartisan bills for our nation’s veterans. The Committee will consider legislation that will help ensure VA can meet the needs of women veterans, provide additional training for peer support specialists and help improve VA's communication with survivors of Military Sexual Trauma, expand entrepreneurship opportunities for veterans, assist student veterans, improve training and oversight tools for VA's Office of Inspector General, and develop a more diverse workforce to serve the needs of all veterans. See all bill text for today’s markup here.


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A video of Chairman Takano’s remarks can be found here.


Chairman Takano’s remarks as prepared:   


Throughout the 117th Congress, I have been focused on creating an environment at VA that is welcoming, inclusive, and reflective of the needs of all veterans. I’ve made this a top priority for this Committee, and the 17 bills on today’s markup agenda will help ensure that we get closer to that goal.


From equitable access to healthcare and benefits to strengthening programs that will help veterans lead a life of meaning and purpose, these bills will help strengthen the institution tasked with serving our increasingly diverse veteran population. 


Among the legislation we will consider this morning is a bill that will improve the experiences of veteran moms who receive care at VA medical centers. We will also take up four bills to address the treatment of Military Sexual Trauma (MST) survivors at VA. These bills will improve intra-agency coordination, instill dignity during the claims process, and establish peer support designed specifically for survivors of MST. We will also consider a bill that requires VA to partner with minority serving institutions to recruit staff-- helping develop a more diverse workforce that serves the needs of all veterans.


In addition, we will mark up three bills to enhance oversight of VA. I was disturbed by the Government Accountability Office report that identified nearly 2,600 healthcare providers who were deceased, ineligible to work with the federal government, or who had revoked or suspended medical licenses and yet were still listed as approved providers in the VA Community Care network. Congressman Pappas’s bill, H.R. 7277, will implement the resulting GAO recommendations to ensure veterans are not put at risk of receiving care from unqualified providers. We will also consider bills to strengthen the Office of Inspector General’s ability to perform investigations, including granting the office testimonial subpoena authority and ensuring VA employees are trained annually to understand how to engage and cooperate with the OIG. 


This morning, we will also advance four bills related to veteran educational assistance programs. These bills expand eligibility for VA Work-Study as well as self-employment training through the Veteran Readiness and Employment program. 


We will also direct VA to update its payment system so that veterans can enroll in courses of study at foreign institutions. If veterans can get their care overseas, they should be able to get an education overseas, too.


We have a busy agenda ahead of us this morning, one which includes several noncontroversial bills supported by our minority. I hope that we can continue this Committee’s long history of bipartisan work to ensure we continue to deliver the care and benefits our veterans have earned and deserve.


Thank you, and with that I now recognize Ranking Member Bost for any opening comments he may have.