From the office of Rep. Brian Bilbray (CA):
Congressman Brian Bilbray is pleased to announce that the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs acted in a bipartisan manner by unanimously referring historic legislation to the House of Representatives to provide advanced funding to ensure adequate and timely health care for veterans. H.R. 1016, which Congressman Bilbray cosponsored, would fund the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) one year in advance, meaning while Congress debates its discretionary spending on other accounts, funding for veterans health care would arrive on time at the start of the fiscal year.
"The Department of Veterans' Affairs has only received funding on-time four times in the last twenty years," said Congressman Bilbray. "This is absolutely unacceptable. We owe a debt of honor to these men and women, and the promise of funding their health care must be upheld, no matter what. I look forward to working with the President and my colleagues in the House to see to it that health care for our veterans is adequately funded in a timely manner.”
H.R. 1016 will now be referred to the full House of Representatives where it will await consideration. If approved by the House, H.R. 1016 will go to the Senate for approval before it goes to the President.
The Committee also approved the following bills by voice vote:
H.R. 952, as amended, the COMBAT Act, would broaden the definition of combat for purposes of establishing service-connection.
H.R. 1211,as amended the Women Veterans Health Care Improvement Act, would require VA to study the barriers and services for women veterans, provide staff training to better treat sexual trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD); establish a child care pilot program for certain veterans receiving care; and allow VA to provide care for a newborn of a woman veteran receiving VA maternity care.
H.R. 1172, as amended, introduced by Subcommittee Ranking Member John Boozman, requires VA to post a list of organizations that provide scholarships to veterans and their survivors on its website.
H.R. 1037, as amended, the Pilot College Work Study Programs for Veterans Act of 2009, would establish a five-year pilot project to test the feasibility and advisability of expanding the scope of veterans’ work-study activities.
H.R. 1098, as amended, the Veterans’ Worker Retraining Act of 2009, would increase the amount of VA educational assistance payments to individuals pursuing an apprenticeship or on-the-job training.
H.R. 1821, as amended, the Equity for Injured Veterans Act of 2009, would extend the period of eligibility for service-connected veterans to use vocational training and rehabilitation.
H.R. 2180 would exempt service-connected veterans from paying housing loan fees.