House Committee on Veterans' Affairs - In a pro forma session this morning, the House passed legislation to modernize the appeals process at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). H.R. 2288, as amended, along with legislation passed by the Senate earlier this month to improve the GI Bill and provide funding for the Choice Program, now await President Trump’s signature.
Chairman Phil Roe, M.D. (R-Tenn.) released the following statement:
“When it comes to putting our nation’s heroes first, there can be no doubt that Congress has been hard at work. With the House’s passage of legislation to modernize the appeals process this morning, three bills to reform and improve VA are now on the brink of becoming law. I applaud the Senate for their action last week on these bills to address the appeals backlog, expand and extend the GI Bill and ensure veterans can continue accessing care through the Choice Program, and I look forward to getting all three of these bills signed into law. I’m grateful to Ranking Member Walz, along with Senators Isakson and Tester, for their leadership on behalf of America’s veterans.”
Note: Secretary Shulkin announced this morning that President Trump will sign S. 114 tomorrow.
The following bills now await the President’s signature:
The Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act of 2017, introduced by Reps. Mike Bost and Elizabeth Esty, would modernize the appeals process at the Department of Veterans Affairs. The Senate passed H.R. 2288, as amended, on August 1, 2017. The Senate's substitute amendment clarifies that in certain circumstances VA must correct duty to assist errors unless VA can grant the maximum benefit; provides for a limited duty to assist in connection to a supplemental claim when veterans identify additional evidence needed to decide a claim; clarifies the difference between an "issue" and "claim"; and includes some changes to the reports and reporting requirements included in the House bill. Click here for more information. Read the bill here.
The Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017, introduced by Rep. Phil Roe, would remove time restrictions to use the GI Bill, enabling future eligible recipients to use their GI bill benefits for their entire lives, as opposed to the current 15-year timeline. Click here for more information. Read the bill here.
S. 114 would provide $2.1 billion to continue the Choice Program for six months while Congress works on other reforms to the Choice Program. It would also authorize 28 major medical facility leases and enhance the recruitment, retention and training of the VA workforce. Click here for more information. Read the bill here.