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Ranking Member Tim Walz Statement On HVAC Mark Up

Mar 8, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. --- Today, House Committee on Veterans Affairs Ranking Member Tim Walz (MN-1) released the following statement after the Committee considered several bills for mark-up, including legislation that would increase VA accountability, improve the VA Choice program, and ensure that all veterans who are awarded Purple Hearts receive full G.I. Bill benefits.

“Passing the Full GI Bill for Purple Heart Recipients is a key victory in the effort to ensure our veterans get the benefits they deserve,” Rep. Walz said. “Currently, only veterans who either serve at least 36 months on active duty or are medically retired receive Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits at the 100 percent rate.  Those who were not medically retired and serve less than 36 months receive only a portion of the benefit on a prorated basis. This leaves out many Purple Heart recipients, particularly from the Reserve Component, who fought on Post-9/11 battlefields, but were activated for less than three years in total.”

“We also made key improvements to the Choice program to help veterans who need care in their community, while maintaining the critical and necessary mission of the VA. Working with the Senate and veterans, we were able to make changes that will streamline veterans experience and cut through the bureaucratic red tape.”

“We are all in agreement we must improve accountability at the VA. Being able to hold bad actors accountable, while recognizing the tremendous contributions of good actors is vital to any well-run organization. Unfortunately, today I could not support the Republican’s proposal because I believe it will make it harder for whistleblowers to come forward to identify key problems we need to know.  We also must stand up for working Americans and enable the VA to hold bad managers accountable. Today’s legislation fails to accomplish that goal. By refusing to compromise on the 1% of this legislation we disagree on, Republicans have made it harder to pass the 99% of the legislation that is vital to making improvements.  I stand willing to work with them moving forward to get this right for our veterans.”