H.R. 3471, Veterans Mobility Safety Act of 2015

H.R. 3471

Veterans Mobility Safety Act of 2015

Date
September 12, 2016 (114th Congress, 2nd Session)

Staff Contact
John Huston

Floor Situation

On­­­­ Monday, September 12, 2016, the House will consider H.R. 3471, the Veterans Mobility Safety Act of 2015, under suspension of the rules. H.R. 3471 was introduced on September 10, 2015, by Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-IN) and was referred to the Committee on Veterans’ Affair, which ordered the bill reported, as amended, by voice vote on May 18, 2016.

Bill Summary

H.R. 3471, as amended, would modify the Automobile Adaptive Equipment (AAE) program administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), which assists disabled veterans in purchasing automobiles and adaptive equipment for those automobiles to accommodate the veterans’ disabilities. Specifically, the bill requires that such automobiles and safety equipment meet certain safety standards. The bill also would authorize VA to hire and – in consultation with veteran’s service organizations, audiologists, ENTs, hearing aid specialists, and other stakeholder and industry groups – to prescribe qualifications for hearing aid specialists. It would further require VA to prepare an annual report documenting the access of veterans to hearing health services sponsored by VA.

Background

VA’s Automobile Adaptive Equipment (AAE) program helps physically challenged veterans to enter, exit, and/or operate a motor vehicle or other conveyances. VA provides necessary equipment such as platform wheelchair lifts, UVLs (under vehicle lifts), power door openers, lowered floors/raised roofs, raised doors, hand controls, left foot gas pedals, reduced effort and zero effort steering and braking, and digital driving systems. Additionally, VA’s program provides reimbursements for standard equipment including, but not limited to, power steering, power brakes, power windows, power seats, and other special equipment necessary for the safe operation of an approved vehicle.

VA does not require any type of certification or accreditation from vendors to install or sell these products.   In recent years, the Committee has received an increasing number of reports regarding quality and safety concerns from veterans receiving services through the AAE program.

According to the bill sponsors, “America’s disabled veterans have given so much for our country, and it’s unacceptable they should have to worry if their chairlift or car is unsafe, or possibly endanger themselves or other motorists.” […] “The Veterans Mobility Safety Act will ensure that veterans who use their VA benefits for adaptive equipment get high-quality service they can trust and that will keep them and their families safe on the road.”[1]

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[1] See Rep. Jackie Walorski Press Release, “Veterans Mobility Safety Act Ensures Disabled Veterans Receive the Best Quality and Safety in Mobility Products,” September 10, 2015.

Cost

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that enacting the bill would not increase net direct spending or on-budget deficits in any of the four consecutive 10-year periods beginning in 2027.

Additional Information

For questions or further information please contact John Huston with the House Republican Policy Committee by email or at 6-5539.