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CRAMER: HOUSE ENSURES VA REFORM WITH PASSAGE OF LEGISLATION

Nov 10, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Kevin Cramer supported legislation this week to reform policies for our nation’s veterans.

The passage of fourteen bills by the House this week comes as Veterans Day is honored across the country. These bills aim to serve our military members by protecting both medical and housing benefits while holding VA officials responsible for program efficiency.   

“We are reminded this Veterans Day weekend of the sacrifice made by countless men and women in our country. Our vets deserve the best care possible regardless of rank, location, or health condition,” said Cramer. “The House-passed measures this week will hold the VA accountable and improve the Department’s ability to provide much needed coverage.”  

Veterans legislation passed by the House this week include:

  • H.R. 2123, the VETS Act of 2017, authored by Rep. Glenn Thompson (R-PA), would allow a VA licensed health care professional to practice telemedicine in any location and state. H.R. 1066, the VA Management Alignment Act of 2017, authored by Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-WA), would mandate a one-time report submitted to Congress by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) on organizational structure within the Department.
  • H.R. 4173, the Veterans Crisis Line Study Act of 2017, authored by Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN), would require the Secretary of the VA to provide a report on the effectiveness of the Veterans Crisis Line.
  • H.R. 3122, the Veterans Care Financial Protection Act of 2017, authored by Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-PA), would require the VA to publish information on people who financially exploit veterans receiving pension benefits.
  • 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 under chapter 31 of such title, and for other purposes, authored by Rep. Jodey Arrington (R-TX). This bill would provide a veteran in rehabilitation accommodations for housing.
  • H.R. 3656, to amend title 38, United States Code, to provide for a consistent eligibility date for provision of Department of Veterans Affairs memorial headstones and markers for eligible spouses and dependent children of veterans whose remains are unavailable, authored by Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN).
  • H.R. 3657, to amend title 38, United States Code, to authorize the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to provide headstones and markers for the graves of spouses and children of veterans who are buried in tribal cemeteries, authored by Rep. Bruce Poliquin (R-ME).
  • H.R. 918, the Veteran Urgent Access to Mental Healthcare Act, authored by Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO), would provide mental health care to veterans that were ineligible due to other than honorable discharge.
  • H.R. 1133, the Veterans Transplant Coverage Act of 2017, authored by Rep. John Carter (R-TX), would authorize the VA to provide transplant operations on a live donor for an eligible veteran at a VA or non-VA facility.
  • H.R. 1900, the National Veterans Memorial and Museum Act, authored by Rep. Steve Stivers (R-OH), would designate the Veterans Memorial and Museum in Ohio as the National Veterans Memorial and Museum.
  • H.R. 2601, the VICTOR Act of 2017, authored by Rep. Neal Dunn (R-FL), would create more access to community transplant centers through the Choice program for veterans who require transplants and experience travel burdens.
  • H.R. 3634, the SERVE Act of 2017, authored by Rep. Jim Himes (D-CT), would require the Secretary of the VA to provide proof to a veteran receiving housing payments to provide as proof to a landlord.
  • H.R. 3705, the Veterans Fair Debt Notice Act of 2017, authored by Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME), would require the VA and Veterans Services Organizations (VSOs) to develop a new method of notifying veterans of debt and how they can dispute claims.
  • H.R. 3949, the VALOR Act, authored by Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA), would simplify job training and apprenticeship programs under the GI bill. 

Other legislation supported by Cramer this Congress include:  

  • H.R. 2288, the Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act of 2017, authored by Rep. Mike Bost (R-IL), reforms the process of veterans claims for benefits. This bill was signed into law by the President on August 23, 2017.   
  • Make America Secure and Prosperous Appropriations Act, combines the text of the every appropriations bill for FY2018. This legislation funds the VA at $78.3 billion, providing the highest level of funding for the VA. This bill supports medical care for 7 million patients including mental health services, suicide prevention activities, traumatic brain injury treatment, opioid abuse prevention, and homeless veteran services.  
  • H.R. 3218, the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017, authored by Rep. David Roe (R-TN), extends GI benefits with increased funding and removal of certain restrictions. This bill was signed into law by the President on August 16, 2017.      
     
  • S. 114, the VA Choice and Quality Employment Act of 2017, authored by Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV), requires the VA to submit an annual report on the awards and bonuses given to Department officials. This bill was signed into law by the President on August 12, 2017.
  • H.R. 1690, the Department of Veterans Affairs Bonus Transparency Act, authored by Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-NY), requires the VA to submit a report on the performance given to Department officials. H.R. 1690 awaits action in the Senate.
  • H.R. 1848, the Veterans Affairs Medical Scribe Pilot Act of 2017, authored by Rep. David Poe (R-TN), directs the VA to raise the use of medical scribes throughout facilities. H.R. 1848 awaits action in the Senate.  
  • H.R. 95, the Veterans’ Access to Child Care Act, authored by Rep. Julia Brownley (D-CA), would expand access to private or public child care assistance. This bill awaits action in the Senate.
  • H.R. 282, the Military Residency Choice Act, authored by Rep. Elise Stefanik, authorizes the spouse of a military member to use the same residence as the member. This bill awaits action in the Senate.

H.R. 2781, the Ensuring Veteran Enterprise Participation in Strategic Sourcing Act, authored by Rep. Neal Dunn (R-FL), requires the VA to show preference is given to a fair amount of small businesses owned by veterans and service-disabled veterans in contracting. This bill awaits action in the Senate.