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Ranking Member Walz, Rep. Esty Statement Following Markup

May 17, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. --- Today, House Committee on Veterans Affairs Ranking Member Tim Walz (D-MN) and Representative Elizabeth Esty (D-CT) released the following statements after the Committee considered 11 bills for markup, including multiple pieces of bipartisan legislation to streamline and modernize the VA’s claims processing capabilities in addition to legislation that will maintain veterans’ standard of living through an annual compensation cost of living adjustment.

“I’m extremely proud of the work this committee continues to do to improve the lives of our nation’s veterans,” Rep. Walz said. “I want to thank Representatives Mike Bost (R-IL) and Elizabeth Esty (D-CT) for championing the Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act of 2017, a truly transformative appeals reform bill that the President will be able to sign into law. I also want to thank Chairman Roe for working with me to advance a bill I introduced, the Quicker Veterans Benefits Delivery Act of 2017, which will help streamline the VA claims processing process for thousands of veterans. Unfortunately, there was one piece of legislation rushed through Committee with little debate, the VET Protection Act of 2017, which if passed would arbitrarily prohibit entire categories of VA employees from using official time to improve care for veterans while restricting the capacity of whistleblowers to safely report problems in the workplace.”  

“We all agree the huge backlog in the VA appeals process is unacceptable,” Rep. Esty said. “Because of the backlog, veterans in Connecticut and across the country are routinely made to wait more than five years to receive the benefits they earned through their service. Our bill to cut down on these delays is the result of thoughtful collaboration among Republicans, Democrats, veteran service organizations, and the VA itself. I’m proud to see our bill advance through the Committee today. We’re one step closer to providing our veterans with the timely benefits they deserve for the injuries they sustained in service to our country.”

Legislation considered for markup:

  1.       H.R. 2288,  the Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act of 2017 (Rep. Bost)
  2.       H.R. 1461, the VET Protection Act of 2017 (Rep. Arrington)
  3.       H.R. 1329, the Veterans' Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act of 2017 (Rep. Bost)
  4.       H.R. 1725, the Quicker Veterans Benefits Delivery Act of 2017 (Ranking Member Walz)
  5.       H.R. 1005, to improve the provision of adult day health care services for veterans (Rep. Zeldin)
  6.       H.R. 1662, to prohibit smoking in any facility of the Veterans Health Administration (Rep. Wenstrup)
  7.       H.R. 467, the VA Scheduling Accountability Act (Rep. Walorski)
  8.       H.R. 1545, the VA Prescription Data Accountability Act 2017 (Rep. Kuster)
  9.       H.R. 1848, the Veterans Affairs Medical Scribe Pilot Act of 2017 (Chairman Roe)
  10.   H.R. 91, the Building Supportive Networks for Women Veterans Act (Rep. Brownley)
  11.   H.R. 1162, the No Hero Left Untreated Act (Rep. Knight)