H.R. 1211 is being considered under suspension of the rules, requiring a two-thirds vote for passage. The legislation was introduced by Rep. Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin (D-SD) on February 26, 2009.
H.R. 1211 would require the Secretary of Veterans Affairs (VA) to do the following:
- Study barriers encountered by women veterans to the provision by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) of comprehensive health care;
- Assess all health care services and programs provided by the VA for women veterans and expand or improve:
- Medical care for newborn children of women veterans receiving maternity care;
- Programs to provide graduate medical education, training, certification, and continuing medical education for mental health professionals who provide counseling, care, and services for veterans suffering from sexual trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD); and
- Carry out a pilot program of child care for certain women veterans receiving health care from VA facilities (for while they are receiving said care), including offering stipends for the payment of child care, collaboration with facilities or programs of other federal departments or agencies, or the arrangement of after-school care.
- The bill requires that, in the case of a child of a woman veteran who is receiving hospital care or medical services at a Department facility relating to the birth of that child, the Secretary may provide hospital care and medical services to that child for seven days after the birth of the child.
- The bill also requires that women veterans recently separated from service be included on the Advisory Committee on Women Veterans, and recently separated minority veterans to be included on the Advisory Committee on Minority Veterans.
350,000 women are serving in the U.S. military today, almost 15 percent of active duty personnel.
CBO estimates that H.R. 1211 would cost about $160 million over the 2010-2014 period, assuming appropriation of the authorized and estimated amounts. Enacting the bill would not affect direct spending or revenues.