Rep. Kelly Praises House Passage of Veterans Bills

Nov 30, 2016 Issues: Veterans

WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA) issued the following statement today in support of five pieces of legislation to support American military veterans and reform the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Each bill was passed unanimously by the House of Representatives yesterday evening, except for H.R. 5047, which is expected to pass today.

“I am very proud to see the People’s House take such strong and united action for our nation’s veterans. Each man and woman who serves our country in uniform deserves the fullest respect and appreciation from every single American. Lawmakers in particular have a sacred duty to defend those who defended us in the legislation we pass, whether it’s to protect their benefits, improve their health care, or help them find work on the homefront. These commonsense bills help us meet all these objectives and make sure the VA is supporting veterans with the utmost care and accountability.”

NOTE: The individual bills passed unanimously by the House (or soon to pass) include:

  • H.R. 5166The WINGMAN (Working to Integrate Networks  Guaranteeing  Member  Access  Now) Act, as amended. This bill enables congressional staff, which would include staff sometimes referred to as “caseworkers”, to have “read only” access to veterans’ records in the databases of the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA), if the veteran provides permission to the Congressional office to allow his or her records to be accessed. (Sponsored by Rep. Ted Yoho/Veterans Affairs Committee)
  • H.R. 3286The HIRE Vets Act, as amended. This bill requires the Department of Labor (DOL) to establish the HIRE Vets Medallion Program, within one year of enactment, to annually recognize businesses for their efforts to employ veterans. (Sponsored by Rep. Paul Cook/Veterans Affairs Committee)
  • H.R. 5600The No Hero Left Untreated Act, as amended. This bill requires the VA to carry out a one-year pilot program to use magnetic EEG/EKG-guided resonance therapy to treat a limited number of veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury (TBI), chronic pain, or opiate addiction, or who have experienced military sexual trauma. This therapy has shown promising results in addressing symptoms of PTSD and TBI among certain veteran patients. (Sponsored by Rep. Steve Knight/Veterans Affairs Committee)
  • H.R. 5458The Veterans TRICARE Choice Act of 2016. This bill allows certain individuals who are automatically eligible for TRICARE (the health benefits program of the Department of Defense) to elect to be temporarily ineligible for that benefit, which would allow those individuals to contribute to health savings accounts (HSAs), which are tax-advantaged accounts used to pay health expenses. (Sponsored by Rep. Chris Stewart /Ways and Means Committee)