Real Reform For American Veterans

Significant Bipartisan Victories This Year On Behalf Of Our Nation’s Veterans

SEN. MITCH McCONNELL (R-KY): “Under the last Administration, we learned of a shocking scandal that spread through Veterans Affairs facilities across the nation. Our veterans deserved far better. Ever since, Congress has continued to work on a number of initiatives that are designed to bring more justice to veterans and bring more reform to the VA. Senator Isakson, the Chairman of the Veterans Affairs Committee, has been a tireless advocate for our nation’s veterans and a driving force on seeing these bills through committee, to the Senate floor.” (Sen. McConnell, Floor Remarks, 8/3/2017)

SEN. JOHNNY ISAKSON (R-GA): “As chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, I take very seriously our responsibility to serve those who have served us. … The Senate has passed 10 major veterans bills this year that have all been signed into law. This remarkable achievement is a testament to the teamwork, leadership and commitment of all members of Congress, regardless of political party. … The veterans of the United States have better health care, better benefits and a more modern and responsive VA in the years ahead as a result of our work this year, and I’m proud to have been a part of it.” (Sen. Isakson, Press Release, 12/20/2017)

Veterans Appeals Improvement And Modernization Act: ‘Trump Signs Bill to Speed Up VA Disability Appeals Process’

“‘This is a big one,’ President Donald Trump said Wednesday as he signed into law a bill to reform and speed up the appeals process on disability ratings at the Department of Veterans Affairs.” (“Trump Signs Bill to Speed Up VA Disability Appeals Process,” Military.com, 8/23/2017)

SENATOR JOHNNY ISAKSON (R-GA): “For far too long, our veterans have faced unacceptable delays in their claims appeals. With this legislation, we’re going to reduce the time it takes for our veterans to get a decision and increase the opportunity for them to receive their just benefits. I am pleased that this legislation moved quickly to reach the president’s desk and to be signed into law.” (Sen. Isakson, Press Release, 8/23/2017)

VA Choice And Quality Employment Act: ‘Critical That The Veterans Choice Program Has The Funding … For Veterans In Their Own Communities’

“President Donald Trump on Saturday signed a $3.9 billion funding deal for the Department of Veterans Affairs that will shore up the nearly bankrupt Veterans Choice Program and allow the VA to open 28 new clinics and implement new hiring programs.” (“Trump Signs $3.9 Billion VA Funding Bill To Avert Crisis For Choice Program,” Stars & Stripes, 8/12/2017)

SEN. DEAN HELLER (R-NV): “Guaranteeing Nevada’s veterans continue to have access to the VA Choice program has always been a top priority of mine, so I was proud to play an important role in getting funding for the program across the finish line and to the President’s desk to be signed into law… From chemotherapy to critical life-saving surgeries, the Veterans Choice Program will ensure Nevada’s veterans have access to services that the VA cannot provide.” (Sen. Heller, Press Release, 8/2/2017)

SEN. JOHNNY ISAKSON (R-GA): “It is critical that the Veterans Choice Program has the funding to continue offering timely appointments for veterans in their own communities… This bicameral, bipartisan agreement is truly a testament to what can be accomplished when Congress works together. I thank my colleagues in the House and Senate for their swift action and look forward to the president signing this important legislation into law.” (Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, Press Release, 8/01/2017)

Building On The Work Already Accomplished For Veterans Last Congress

VETERANS CHOICE ACT: “What is the Veterans Choice Act? This federal program sets aside $10 billion throughout three years for veterans who live more than 40 miles from a VA facility or who find themselves waiting more than 30 days for an appointment. The program allows them to be seen at a participating community health center.” (“VA Opens More Doors To Rural Veterans In Virginia,” Daily Press, 12/7/15)

SENS. ISAKSON (R-GA) & TESTER (D-MT): “With the enactment of the Veterans Choice Program, designed to provide veterans with more timely appointment options, there were 2.1 million more veterans’ appointments in the VA in 2016 than the previous year. Last month, President Trump signed into law the Veterans Choice Program Improvement Act, legislation that we introduced to ensure veterans would continue to have access to timely care in their own communities while setting the stage for further reforms to the program.” (“Senate Veterans Affairs Committee Leaders On The Way Forward To Improve Veteran Care,” Military Times, 5/29/2017)

Forever GI Bill: ‘Senate Signed Off Wednesday On A Sweeping Expansion Of GI Bill Education Benefits’

“The nation’s veterans groups and advocates are cheering the new ‘Forever’ GI Bill being signed into law today. The bipartisan legislation, signed by President Donald Trump this afternoon, does away with a 15-year deadline for veterans to use education money and allows all Purple Heart recipients to get full benefits, among other expansions. The American Legion said the new GI Bill marks the next era for the nation’s veterans. ‘This lifetime benefit will allow veterans, and their families, to earn degrees and begin rewarding careers that can lead our economy,’ said Charles E. Schmidt, the Legion’s national leader. ‘We believe that this legislation, named after a past national commander of the American Legion, will transform America as the original did following World War II.’” (“Hello, 'Forever' GI Bill. Goodbye, Time Restrictions For Vets,” The San Diego Union-Tribune, 8/16/2017)

“The Senate signed off Wednesday on a sweeping expansion of GI Bill education benefits, sending the bipartisan legislation dubbed the ‘Forever GI Bill’ to President Donald Trump’s desk. The bill, which would increase veterans benefits by more than $3 billion over the next decade, passed the Senate by unanimous consent. ... The bill would remove, for new enlistees, the 15-year limit on when recipients must use their GI Bill benefits — a provision meant to give veterans more flexibility to attend higher education and obtain new skills later in life. The legislation boosts education assistance for National Guard and Reserve troops, Purple Heart recipients and for the dependents of fallen troops. It also would send funding to nontraditional education providers like coding boot camps. In addition, the legislation would fully restore the GI Bill education benefits for veterans who were affected by the collapse in recent years of Corinthian Colleges and ITT Tech, two massive for-profit college chains that had campuses across the country. Overall, the enhancements are among the largest made under the Post-9/11 GI Bill since it was enacted in 2008 to help Iraq and Afghanistan veterans. So far, more than $70 billion has gone out for veterans and their families to attend colleges, universities and career training programs, and the program is a popular benefit among military personnel.” (“Congress Passes $3B Expansion Of GI Bill Education Benefits,” Politico, 8/02/2017)

VA Accountability And Whistleblower Protection Act: ‘Helping To Shore Up Accountability’

SEN. MITCH McCONNELL (R-KY): “Just a couple months ago, we passed important VA reform legislation — which is now law; the VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act is helping to shore up accountability measures, improve transparency, and enhance the VA’s ability to remove unsatisfactory employees while also protecting those who speak up about wrongdoings within the VA.” (Sen. McConnell, Floor Remarks, 8/3/2017)

VETERANS AFFAIRS SECRETARY DAVID SHULKIN: “Since the President’s been in office, we’ve removed over 700 employees from the VA. In fact, I now publish on a weekly basis all of our disciplinary actions of firings or suspensions or demotions so that everyone can see and track our progress.” (“VA Secretary Says John Kelly’s New Role Is A Reset For The Trump Administration,” The Washington Times, 8/1/2017)

The VALOR Act: ‘Increase Access To Apprenticeship-Training Programs For Veterans’

SEN. THOM TILLIS (R-NC): “I applaud Congress for passing the VALOR Act on a bipartisan basis to reduce burdensome requirements on businesses so apprenticeship programs will be more accessible to veterans.” (Sen. Tillis, Press Release, 11/17/2017)

“The Veteran Apprenticeship and Labor Opportunity Reform Act would increase access to apprenticeship-training programs for veterans by streamlining the certification process for non-federal apprenticeship programs based in more than one state. … Under current law, non-federal apprenticeship training programs located in multiple states have to register with each state approval agency individually, subjecting them to mountains of paperwork and multiple burdensome review processes... In response, employers have decided to limit their programs to a smaller number of states and, as a result, hire fewer veterans. The VALOR Act would amend current law to allow for a single, more streamlined approval process.” (“Tillis’ VALOR Act Awaits President’s Signature,” Richmond County Daily Journal, 11/17/2017)

For Details On The Addition Laws Passed To Help Veterans This Congress, Please See Here


Related Issues: Veterans, Education, America's Military