Joint Hearing of the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs of the U.S. Senate and the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs of the U.S. House of Representatives at 1:00 p.m. CDT.
House Passes Important VA Backlog Legislation, Other Veterans Bills
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed four veterans related bills via bipartisan votes. H.R. 2189 would establish a commission or task force charged with examining the root causes of the Department of Veterans Affairs disability claims backlog and providing solutions for ending it by 2015. Using VA’s existing resources, H.R. 2481 would establish an Economic Opportunity Administration within VA, enabling the department to better focus on veterans’ transition to civilian life. H.R. 1405 would require the VA secretary to include an appeals form along with any benefits-denial notification, institute key reforms to VA’s fiduciary program and provide honorary veterans status to members of the National Guard and Reserves. H.R. 2011 would extend the term of a special veteran students advisory committee for two years.
“Today, in a shining example of how our legislative process is supposed to work, Republicans and Democrats came together to support a range of legislation with two overarching goals: helping veterans, while improving accountability and efficiency at the Department of Veterans Affairs. I am especially pleased with passage of H.R. 2189, a bill I was proud to introduce with House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy. Government bureaucrats under both Republican and Democrat administrations created the backlog, so it’s only natural to solicit outside help from the private sector and the veterans service organization community in working toward a solution. The need for this legislation was further underscored last week by the news that VA missed its fiscal year 2013 processing goal by nearly 100,000 claims. By creating a task force of private industry leaders, VA and VSO officials, we hope to establish a revised, evidence-based process that will help VA break its claims backlog once and for all in 2015, just as department leaders have promised.” – Rep. Jeff Miller, Chairman, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs