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DAMA Subcommittee Examines Legislation To Improve Lives Of Veterans Living With Disabilities

Apr 5, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs (DAMA) Ranking Member Elizabeth Esty (D-CT) and House Committee on Veterans Affairs Ranking Member Tim Walz (D-MN) released the following statements after the DAMA Subcommittee conducted a legislative hearing to examine 7 pieces of bipartisan legislation that if signed into law will improve the lives of veterans living with disabilities across the country.  

“Today our subcommittee worked in a bipartisan way to craft thoughtful legislation to serve and support our nation’s veterans,” Esty said. “These bills will speed up the processing of disability benefits, protect veterans from financial exploitation, help both veterans and their family members manage their living expenses, and provide Vietnam-era veterans who were exposed to herbicides like Agent Orange with long-overdue support.”

“Thanks to the bipartisan spirit of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, today we had the opportunity to examine and debate key pieces of legislation that have the potential to improve the ways through which veterans across the U.S. access disability care and benefits,” Rep. Walz said. “Whether it’s a veteran seeking benefits because they were exposed to Agent Orange, or it’s a veteran facing difficulties scheduling a medical examination for a disability, the legislation we considered today will help veterans from all walks of life get the quality care and services they deserve in a timely manner.”

Legislation advanced by the Subcommittee include:

  •          H.R. 1328 and H.R. 1329, the “American Heroes COLA Act of 2017 and the “Veterans’ Compensation COLA Adjustment Act,” which ensures that we are keeping economic pace and keeping faith with our veterans with service-connected disabilities, and surviving spouses of veterans who receive dependency and indemnity compensation (Reps. Esty and Bost).

 

  •          H.R. 1725, the “Quicker Veterans Benefits Delivery Act,” which speeds up the benefits delivery process by allowing local doctors to conduct disability medical examinations for veterans (Rep. Walz).

 

  •          H.R. 105, the “Protect Veterans from Financial Fraud Act,” which protects Veterans from the misuse of their money by a fiduciary by expanding the Secretary’s authority to pay recompense to a beneficiary who has been the victim of fraud (Rep. Brownley).

 

  •          H.R. 299, the “Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act,” which expands the compensation and healthcare benefits to veterans who served off the coast of Vietnam during the Vietnam War, and who have manifested statutorily defined diseases related to exposure to herbicides used in Vietnam such as Agent Orange (Rep. Valadao).

 

Testimony:

 

Panel 1  

 

The Honorable Mike Bost

U.S. House of Representatives 

 

The Honorable Julia Brownley

U.S. House of Representatives 

 

The Honorable Jim Banks

U.S. House of Representatives 

 

The Honorable Jack Bergman

U.S. House of Representatives 

 

The Honorable Timothy J. Walz

U.S. House of Representatives 

 

The Honorable David G. Valadao

U.S. House of Representatives  

 

Panel 2 

 

Ms. Beth Murphy

Director, Compensation Service

Veterans Benefits Administration

U. S. Department of Veterans Affairs  

 

Accompanied by:  

 

Dr. Ralph L. Erickson C

Chief Consultant for Post Deployment Health Service

Veterans Health Administration

U. S. Department of Veterans Affairs   

 

Ms. Patricia Watts

Director, Legislative and Regulatory Service

National Cemetery Administration

U. S. Department of Veterans Affairs 

 

Panel 3 

 

Mr. Zachary Hearn

Deputy Director, Veterans Affairs and Rehabilitation Division

The American Legion 

 

Mr. Rick Weidman

Executive Director, Policy and Government Affairs

Vietnam Veterans of America 

 

Mr. Patrick Murray

Associate Director, National Legislative Service

Veterans of Foreign Wars 

 

Mr. LeRoy Acosta

Assistant National Legislative Director

Disabled American Veterans 

 

Mr. John B. Wells

Executive Director

Military-Veterans Advocacy Inc. 

 

Statement for the Record:

 

Paralyzed Veterans of America 

 

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