Veterans Affairs

Committee on Veterans Affairs

Phil Roe

Takano, Roe Statement on HVAC Subcommittee Chairs and Ranking Members for 116th Congress

2019/02/13

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Mark Takano and House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Ranking Member Dr. Phil Roe announced the Members selected to lead the Committee’s subcommittees in the 116th Congress: “I’m proud that our Committee’s membership better reflects the increasingly diverse veterans population in our country,” said Chairman Mark Takano (D-CA). “Acknowledging the contributions of our nation’s veterans, regardless of race, gender, or sexual orientation is a hallmark of my VA 2030 vision and a necessary step toward guaranteeing all our veterans the benefits and recognition they deserve. Together, our Committee will leverage the experiences of our Members, Republican and Democrat, and deliver bipartisan solutions for our nation’s veterans that improve access to care and benefits, while maintaining transparency and accountability at VA.” “It was great to finally have the 116th Congress’ full House Committee on Veterans Affairs’ come together for the first time ever,” said Full Committee Ranking Member Dr. Phil Roe (R-Tenn.). “During the organizational meeting, I was encouraged by the members’ enthusiasm to work on behalf of our nation’s veterans. This committee has always had a naturally bipartisan nature to it, and I know that under the leadership of Chairman Takano that will continue. We have lots of work ahead of us as we monitor the implementation of the many bills that were signed into law last Congress, like the VA MISSION Act and the VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act. On top of that, I know we will continue to work hard to improve and modernize VA as we strive to ensure that our veterans receive the best services and support possible.” House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Vice Chair: Congressman Conor Lamb   Vice Ranking Member Congresswoman Amata Coleman Radewagen   Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs: Chair: Congresswoman Elaine Luria Ranking Member: Congressman Mike Bost   Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity: Chair: Congressman Mike Levin Ranking Member: Congressman Gus M. Bilirakis   Subcommittee on Health: Chair: Congresswoman Julia Brownley Ranking Member: Congressman Dr. Neal Dunn   Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations: Chair: Congressman Chris Pappas Ranking Member: Congressman Jack Bergman   Subcommittee on Technology Modernization: Chair: Congresswoman Susie Lee Ranking Member: Congressman Jim Banks     ### Read More

Committee Organizational Meeting 116th Congress

2019/02/13

On Wednesday, February 13, 2019, the United States House of Representatives, Committee on Veterans’ Affairs will hold a Business Meeting entitled “Formal Organization of the 116th Congress”. Members will vote on adopting the committee rules of procedure, appoint the subcommittee chairs and Vice Chair, appoint the Subcommittee Ranking Members and Vice Ranking Members, establish majority and minority subcommittee assignments, and appoint committee staff.  Watch the meeting here Read More

House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Launches Investigation into Influence of Mar-a-Lago “Three” on Department of Veterans Affairs

2019/02/08

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Mark Takano (CA-41) released the following letter notifying the Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs that the Committee is opening an investigation into the influence of the Mar-a-Lago “three” on the Department of Veterans Affairs:   “I am writing to request information about alleged improper influence of Mr. Ike Perlmutter, Dr. Bruce Moskowitz, and Mr. Marc Sherman over policy and personnel decisions of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs,” the letter stated.    “The Committee on Veterans’ Affairs is opening an investigation into this relationship so that Congress, veterans, and the American people can better understand the scope and nature of this relationship between the Department and these individuals who have not served in the U.S. military nor U.S. government, and are not accountable to veterans and the American people,” Chairman Takano wrote.    He continued, “Government officials and private individuals who seek to use the Department for personal enrichment, or who make poor decisions that waste taxpayer dollars or negatively affect the delivery of veterans’ healthcare and benefits must held to account.”     Full text of the letter follows and can be found here.   The Honorable Robert Wilkie Secretary Department of Veterans Affairs 810 Vermont Avenue, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20420   Dear Mr. Secretary:    I am writing to request information about alleged improper influence of Mr. Ike Perlmutter, Dr. Bruce Moskowitz, and Mr. Marc Sherman over policy and personnel decisions of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs. The Department declared these three members of President Trump’s National Golf Club Mar-a-Lago “asserted influence over the Department” as a defendant in Federal court.[1] Public documents in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request provide further evidence of their power over key Department officials and their involvement in procurement decisions and potentially other policy and programmatic decisions made by the Department.    The Committee on Veterans’ Affairs is opening an investigation into this relationship so that Congress, veterans, and the American people can better understand the scope and nature of this relationship between the Department and these individuals who have not served in the U.S. military nor U.S. government, and are not accountable to veterans and the American people.     Public documents show that Mr. Ike Perlmutter, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Marvel Entertainment, LLC., Dr. Bruce Moskowitz, an Internal Medicine specialist, and Mr. Marc Sherman, an attorney without health care industry experience, ostensibly used their wealth and connections to President Trump and his family to make decisions for the Department. Top Department officials apparently treated these Mar-a-Lago members as having decision-making authority, and emails demonstrate these powerful men weighed in on candidates to lead the Veterans Health Administration,[2] and organized meetings and summits between VA and commercial entities. Documents also show these men were involved in the procurement of an electronic health record from Cerner Corporation: they were granted access to review the confidential draft contract between the Department and Cerner Corporation more than three months before Congress received access to the contract and more than two months prior to contract signing.   Email correspondence evinces these Mar-a-Lago members were promised development of “a project plan and…timeline for action”[3] when senior Department officials were directed by these men to stand up an “emergency committee” on mental health care delivery.[4] These individuals—despite having no experience delivering healthcare to veterans—rejected advice provided by Department experts, arranging calls and naming themselves to an “executive committee” to direct Department development of technology with Apple Inc.[5] that could personally enrich Dr. Moskowitz and his family,[6] and organized a Department-led medical device registry summit in which Dr. Moskowitz’s family and foundation played a prominent role.[7] Former VA Secretary Shulkin and other Department officials participated and promoted Marvel Entertainment at a Veterans Day event at the New York Stock Exchange.    Travel records and email correspondence demonstrate that you, former VA Secretaries and acting Secretaries, and other key VA officials, flew to Mar-a-Lago on official travel paid for by taxpayers. After meeting with these individuals at Mar-a-Lago on or about April 20, 2018,[8] you wrote via email to these individuals that you were “honored” to visit with them.[9] Reports and sources also allege these individuals caused Department leaders who disagreed with them to lose their jobs or be passed over for promotions, in one instance these men allegedly directed or encouraged two VA officials to contact congressional aides and advocate for the resignation of Secretary Shulkin and his deputy in February 2018.[10]    In order to investigate the extent of influence these individuals had and continue to wield over Department policies, decisions, and personnel, I request you produce the following documents:     1. Unredacted copies of any documents and communications that have been provided to individuals or organizations via FOIA request, including unredacted copies of the documents under the heading “Senior Leadership Emails/Travel” available on the Department’s website.[11]      2. Any documents and communications in your possession, control, or custody sent to or received from Mr. Perlmutter, Dr. Moskowitz, or Mr. Sherman, including communications via nongovernmental email accounts or via Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) or Short Message Service (SMS) on nongovernmental electronic devices.   3. Any documents and communications in your possession, control, or custody referring or relating to Mr. Perlmutter, Dr. Moskowitz, and Mr. Sherman including communications via nongovernmental email accounts or via MMS or SMS on nongovernmental electronic devices.   4. Any documents and communications sent or received from Mr. Perlmutter, Dr. Moskowitz, or Mr. Sherman in the possession, control, or custody of the following Department officials: Mr. James Byrne, Acting Deputy Secretary; Mr. John Ullyot, Assistant Secretary for Public and Intergovernmental Affairs; Mr. James Gfrerer, Chief Information Officer; Mr. Curt Cashour, Press Secretary; Mr. Darin Selnick, Mr. Jake Leinenkugel, Ms. Jacquelyn Hayes-Byrd, and Mr. Camillo Sandoval. This includes communications via nongovernmental email accounts or via MMS or SMS on nongovernmental electronic devices.   5. Any documents and communications referring or relating to Mr. Perlmutter, Dr. Moskowitz, and Mr. Sherman in the possession, control, or custody of the above named Department officials. This includes communications via nongovernmental email accounts or via MMS or SMS on nongovernmental electronic devices.   6. Any documents and communications in the possession, control, or custody of the Department of former Department officials Dr. David Shulklin, Secretary, Mr. Thomas Bowman, Deputy Secretary, Mr. Peter O’Rourke, Ms. Genevieve Morris, Chief Health Information Officer sent to or received from Mr. Perlmutter, Dr. Moskowitz, or Mr. Sherman. This includes communications via nongovernmental email accounts or via MMS or SMS on nongovernmental electronic devices.   7. Any documents and communications in the possession, control, or custody of the Department referring or relating to Mr. Perlmutter, Dr. Moskowitz, and Mr. Sherman sent or received by the above named former Department officials. This includes communications via nongovernmental email accounts or via MMS or SMS on nongovernmental electronic devices.   8. Any documents and communications in the possession, control, or custody of the Department in which a VA Secretary or other Department official directed Department officials to communicate with Mr. Perlmutter, Dr. Moskowitz, and Mr. Sherman via nongovernmental email accounts or via SMS or MMS on nongovernmental electronic devices.    9. Telephone records or call logs in the possession, control, or custody of the Department, including the date and time of each call in which you spoke with Mr. Perlmutter, Dr. Moskowitz, or Mr. Sherman.    10. Telephone records or call logs in the possession, control, or custody of the Department, including the date and time of each call in which Mr. Perlmutter, Dr. Moskowitz, or Mr. Sherman communicated with any of the  following Department officials: Mr. James Byrne, Acting Deputy Secretary; Mr. John Ullyot, Assistant Secretary for Public and Intergovernmental Affairs; Mr. James Gfrerer, Chief Information Officer; Mr. Curt Cashour, Press Secretary; Mr. Darin Selnick, Mr. Jake Leinenkugel, Ms. Jacquelyn Hayes-Byrd, or Mr. Camillo Sandoval.      11. Telephone records or call logs in the possession, control, or custody of the Department, including the date and time of each call in which Mr. Perlmutter, Dr. Moskowitz, or Mr. Sherman communicated with former Department officials Dr. David Shulklin, Secretary, Mr. Thomas Bowman, Deputy Secretary, Mr. Peter O’Rourke, and Ms. Genevieve Morris, Chief Health Information Officer.   12. Telephone records or call logs in the possession, control, or custody of the Department, including the date and time of each call in which any Department official or employee spoke directly with or participated in a conference call with Mr. Perlmutter, Dr. Moskowitz, or Mr. Sherman.    13. Any documents and communications referring or relating to Mr. Aaron Moskowitz and Dr. Bruce Moskowitz’s participation in discussions or meetings with the Department and Apple Inc. referring or relating to the development of a mobile or software application.    14. Any documents and communications referring or relating to Dr. Moskowitz and his relatives, and the development of a medical device registry or organization of the June 4, 2018 summit on device registries.     15. Any documents and communications referring or relating to Dr. Moskowitz, his relatives, and Department officials and the Biomedical Research and Education Foundation.    16. Any documents and communications referring or relating to former Secretary Shulkin’s participation or the participation of Department officials in the November 7, 2017 Veterans Day New York Stock Exchange event presented by Marvel Entertainment LLC, including any opinion provided by Department ethics officials sanctioning participation in the event.    17. Any documents and communications referring or relating to official travel of current and former Department officials to Trump National Golf Club Mar-a-Lago, including documents demonstrating the cost to the U.S. taxpayer.    18. Any additional documents and communications in the possession, control, or custody of the Department referring or relating to Mr. Perlmutter, Dr. Moskowitz, and Mr. Sherman.   19. Any additional documents and communications in the possession, control, or custody of the Department sent or received from Mr. Perlmutter, Dr. Moskowitz, and Mr. Sherman.    20. Any documents and communications referring or relating to any personal referrals related to current or future agency contracts, programs, or projects by Mr. Perlmutter, Dr. Moskowitz, or Mr. Sherman.    Please provide the documents in electronic, soft-copy format. Do not alter the documents in any way, including but not limited to applications of redactions or a water mark. Only relevant documents and tangible things should be provided as part of the submission. Also provide the contact information for the individual(s) responsible for assembling the submission. This/These individual(s) shall certify and attest to the accuracy of the submission and whether the Department has complied with the request.    The deliverables opened by this request will not be closed until the Committee is sufficiently satisfied with the responses provided, including whether the formatting instructions have been adhered to. The Committee reserves the right to, at its discretion, order an alternative organization of the submission. The Department has a continuing duty to supplement the record by providing relevant documents and tangible things to the Committee until the matter is closed.    Government officials and private individuals who seek to use the Department for personal enrichment, or who make poor decisions that waste taxpayer dollars or negatively affect the delivery of veterans’ healthcare and benefits must held to account.     Please produce these documents by February 22, 2019. Should you have any questions about this request, please contact Grace Rodden, Committee General Counsel, at (202) 225-9756 or at grace.rodden@mail.house.gov. Thank you for your prompt attention to this request.    Sincerely,   ### Read More

Chairman Takano Statement on Passage of Veterans’ Access to Child Care Act

2019/02/08

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Mark Takano (CA-41) issued the statement below following the passage of the Veterans’ Access to Child Care Act, H.R. 840, introduced by Congresswoman Julia Brownley, Chairwoman of the House Veterans’ Affairs Health Subcommittee: “I am proud to support the Veterans’ Access to Child Care Act as the first bill our Committee would bring to the House Floor because it addresses a sometimes-overlooked group of veterans—veterans who are parents and caregivers to young children. “Addressing underserved veterans is a pillar of my VA 2030 vision: which will drive our work on the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs in the 116th Congress. Providing cost-free, safe, and convenient child care so that veterans can get the care they need is the least we can do to make their lives easier so they, in turn, can be loving parents and caregivers to the children who depend on them. “We ask our servicemembers to risk their lives in service to our country, and in return, we promise to provide healthcare and benefits, so they can live happy, healthy, and successful lives, and provide for their families.”   ### Read More

Chairman Takano Testifies Before Rules Committee In Support of Veterans’ Access to Child Care Act

2019/02/06

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Mark Takano (CA-41) testified before the House Rules Committee in support of the Veterans’ Access to Child Care Act which would make permanent and expand child care assistance to eligible veterans who are required to travel to VA facilities for care.  The bill was originally introduced by Congresswoman Julia Brownley, Chairwoman of the House Veterans’ Affairs Health Subcommittee. Below is a link to video of the Chairman’s opening statement and his remarks as prepared: [[{"fid":"35","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"link_text":null,"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"attributes":{"style":"height: 210px; width: 350px;","class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"1"}}]] Watch opening remarks here   Good Afternoon Chairman McGovern and Ranking Member Cole. I am here today in support of H.R. 840, the Veterans’ Access to Child Care Act, and to advocate for a rule that will make germane amendments in order so we can have a robust debate of members’ ideas on the Floor. The bill, introduced by Ms. Brownley, the Chair of the Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Health and longtime advocate for women veterans, addresses veterans’ inability to seek healthcare because they lack access to child care. As part of the Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act of 2010, Congress authorized a pilot program within VA, to mitigate the impact a lack of child care can have on a veteran’s ability or willingness to seek healthcare, specifically mental healthcare.  Under the pilot, VA could provide child care services to eligible veterans seeking mental healthcare, intensive mental healthcare services, or other intensive healthcare services that the Secretary determined necessary. In October 2011, VA began offering child care in Buffalo, New York.  Within two years, VA had expanded the pilot to two more sites – Northport, New York and American Lake, Washington – as was mandated by Congress. And then, VA went even further and offered the service at a fourth site in Dallas, Texas.  The two-year pilot program was meant to end in September of 2013; however, seeing the promise the pilot offered – Congress has reauthorized the program each year since. This bill is simply an effort to make that program permanent and to allow VA to expand the program as needed.  By allowing veterans who are the primary caregivers of their children to access child care, veterans are able to pursue their health – which can then indirectly impact the quality of the attention they are able to offer to their children, their spouses, their employers, their education, and so on. One veteran from Dallas, Texas stated, "This is the best benefit the VA has ever provided since 1992 when I separated.  This way if I need VA care I don't have to drive 10 miles to drop my daughter off somewhere else.  She and I are safer, can spend more time together, and she loves this place.  The other kids are the best group she has stayed with. They understand how a half orphaned child of two veterans feels. She belongs.  I am now taking better care of myself than ever since I separated." While this is only one story, the data supports this type of assistance as being integral to the whole health of veteran-parents. Over 10,000 children used the Child Care Pilot Program, and as utilization increased at participating facilities, VA found that the cost of the services decreased.  Additionally, a survey of veterans who used VA’s Child Care services yielded praise for the program and comments from thankful parents and caregivers who were better able to access their appointments without worrying about finding and paying for child care. The Committee fully intends to ensure veterans’ access to healthcare is both preserved and improved. This means we must ensure that the “choices” veterans are given in regard to their healthcare WORK.  This is but one measure that makes sure V-H-A WORKS for veterans. As for amendments, we had 30 filed with the Rules Committee.  I’m not surprised that we had so many members offer amendments to this measure because we all have veterans in our districts that we have been elected here to represent.  I am pleased so see so many members of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, and veterans in this chamber offer amendments to this legislation. I would like to mention a few of these amendments that I hope to see made in order: •              Rep. Allred’s amendment: would require VA to notify veterans, post on VA.gov, and perform outreach to veterans to make them aware of the child care program. •              Rep. Brindisi’s amendment: would ensure veterans receiving care at Community Based Outpatient Clinics are eligible for child care. •              Rep. Lee’s amendment:  would ensure veterans receiving care at Vet Centers are eligible too. •              Veterans receiving physical therapy for service-connected disabilities, counseling for readjustment from military to civilian life, treatment for military sexual trauma, and even counseling for substance or drug abuse would explicitly be able to receive child care so they can make their appointments if amendments offered by Reps. Cisneros, Golden, Sherrill, and Rose—all veterans I might add—are made in order and adopted on the Floor. These are but a few of the great ideas put forward by the members in this chamber to improve this bill and I hope to see these germane amendments made in order. Thank you ### Read More

Chairman Takano Joins Bicameral Letter to Secretary Wilkie Demanding Data on MISSION Act

2019/02/04

WASHINGTON – Today, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Mark Takano (CA-41) joined bipartisan leadership from the House and Senate authorizing and appropriating committees in sending a letter to VA Secretary Robert Wilkie demanding additional data used to develop the Department’s proposed access standards.  “As the 116th Congress convenes, we write to encourage you and your senior leadership team to work collaboratively with Congress as you implement major, simultaneous changes to veterans’ health care and benefits programs,” wrote the members. “Since your confirmation, your team has provided staff-level briefings – albeit somewhat limited in scope and details – on the status of implementation of the VA MISSION Act,” they continued, “as we begin a new Congress, we expect regular, detailed briefings to continue and that you will take a collaborative approach that maximizes transparency and demonstrates your intent that Congress be a full and true partner in implementation of these critical laws and initiatives.” They concluded, “Specific to the VA MISSION Act, we request the data used to inform your decision on the proposed access standards, the projected number of veterans expected to access care, any impact on VA’s internal ability to provide care to veterans, and an implementation plan for the proposed access standards.” The letter was signed by House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Mark Takano; Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Johnny Isakson; Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Ranking Member Jon Tester; Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Chairman John Boozman; Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Ranking Member Brian Schatz; House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Ranking Member David P. Roe, M.D.; House Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz; House Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Ranking Member John R. Carter. Full text of the letter follows and can be found here.   February 4, 2019 The Honorable Robert Wilkie Secretary of Veterans Affairs 810 Vermont Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20420 Dear Secretary Wilkie: As the 116th Congress convenes, we write to encourage you and your senior leadership team to work collaboratively with Congress as you implement major, simultaneous changes to veterans’ health care and benefits programs. During the 115th Congress, we worked in a bipartisan manner to pass twenty-five pieces of major veterans’ legislation, including significant reforms to community care, appeals, accountability, and education benefits. Just five months from now, VA must begin operating the new Veterans Community Care Program that was created in the VA MISSION Act. This will fundamentally transform the delivery of veterans’ health care. VA will concurrently implement provisions from other laws, including the VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act (Accountability Act), the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act (Colmery Act), and the Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act (Appeals Modernization). All of these changes will be happening as VA implements the Electronic Health Record Modernization (EHRM) project, one of the largest information technology modernization projects in our nation’s history. Since your confirmation, your team has provided staff-level briefings – albeit somewhat limited in scope and details – on the status of implementation of the VA MISSION Act, the Accountability Act, the Colmery Act, Appeals Modernization, and EHRM. As we begin a new Congress, we expect regular, detailed briefings to continue and that you will take a collaborative approach that maximizes transparency and demonstrates your intent that Congress be a full and true partner in implementation of these critical laws and initiatives.  With all of the reforms underway simultaneously, it is vital for VA to share information openly – even pre-decisional information – so that we can work together and have a common understanding of the impact of changes, including costs, and are able to assess the impact any changes will have on other parts of VA. We share the common goal of VA’s success, and our hope is that early, frequent, and fully transparent dialogs will allow VA and Congress to jointly head off the kind of serious missteps we have seen in some recent implementation efforts. All of the changes being implemented require VA to be more open, transparent, complete, and candid when engaging with Congress in the critical implementation stages of these programs.  Specific to the VA MISSION Act, we request the data used to inform your decision on the proposed access standards, the projected number of veterans expected to access care, any impact on VA’s internal ability to provide care to veterans, and an implementation plan for the proposed access standards.  We are hopeful that under your leadership VA can build a more collaborative relationship with Congress in the near-term.  We look forward to a cooperative partnership between Congress and VA in order to effectively carry out all of the many new programs and initiatives underway that will make VA the model for 21st century delivery of health care and services to veterans.   Sincerely,   ###   Read More

Chairman Takano Announces Vice Chair, Subcommittee Assignments for 116th Congress

2019/01/31

WASHINGTON – Today, Chairman Mark Takano (CA-41) announced the Vice Chair and Subcommittee assignments for the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs during the 116th Congress. "I look forward to working with newly selected Vice Chair Conor Lamb (PA-17) and Subcommittee Chairs, Representatives Julia Brownley (CA-26), Mike Levin (CA-49), Chris Pappas (NH-01), Elaine Luria (VA-02), and Susie Lee (NV-03), and I welcome their leadership and enthusiasm.  "In this Congress our committee will focus on addressing the needs of underserved veterans and improving access to care and benefits for all of those who have served our country. We will fight to prevent unaccountable individuals from exerting their influence on VA, protect whistleblowers, and work to create a culture within VA that assures we recruit and retain the best employees and clinicians to serve our veterans. I welcome the opportunity to take on these challenges, build on our history of bipartisanship, and live up to the promise we have made to our nation's veterans." The full list of Subcommittee members can be found below: House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Vice Chair: Congressman Conor Lamb (PA-17)   Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs: Chair: Congresswoman Elaine Luria (VA-02) Members: Congressman Gil Cisneros (CA-39), Congressman Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan (At Large – M.P.), Congressman Colin Allred (TX-32), Congresswoman Lauren Underwood (IL-14)   Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity: Chair: Congressman Mike Levin (CA-49) Members: Congresswoman Kathleen Rice (NY-04), Congressman Anthony Brindisi (NY-22), Congressman Chris Pappas (NH-01), Congresswoman Elaine Luria (VA-02), Congresswoman Susie Lee (NV-03), Congressman Joe Cunningham (SC-01)   Subcommittee on Health: Chair: Congresswoman Julia Brownley (CA-26) Members: Congressman Conor Lamb (PA-17), Congressman Mike Levin (CA-49), Congressman Anthony Brindisi (NY-22), Congressman Max Rose (NY-11), Congressman Gil Cisneros (CA-39), Congressman Collin Peterson (MN-07)   Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations: Chair: Congressman Chris Pappas (NH-01) Members: Congresswoman Kathleen Rice (NY-04), Congressman Max Rose (NY-11), Congressman Gil Cisneros (CA-39), Congressman Collin Peterson (MN-07)   Subcommittee on Technology Modernization: Chair: Congresswoman Susie Lee (NV-03) Members: Congresswoman Julia Brownley (CA-26), Congressman Conor Lamb (PA-17), Congressman Joe Cunningham (SC-01)   ### Read More

Chairman Takano Statement on VA Access Standards

2019/01/30

WASHINGTON – Today, Chairman Mark Takano (CA-41) issued the statement below following VA’s announcement of its proposed access standards for community care under the MISSION Act: “There is no doubt veterans deserve the highest quality of care and have earned the freedom to choose how they manage their health. “But today’s announcement hastily rolling out new access standards places core VA services and vital research programs at risk by shifting money towards care outside VA without involving providers, VSOs and Congress. “Rather than working to find an equilibrium within the system by building up VA’s ability to deliver high quality care, fill the more than 40,000 vacancies within the department, continue working to reduce wait times, and raise the caliber of service we provide for our nation's veteran population, today’s announcement places VA on a pathway to privatization and leads Congress to assume the worst. “Developing access standards in the dark of night and placing decisions in the hands of bureaucrats instead of in the hands of veterans and their doctors is at best disappointing, and at worst, shameful. “Today’s announcement has raised more questions than answers and it is my intention to hold a full hearing of the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs in the imminent future to fully understand how this will impact access to care for our veterans.”   ### Read More

Chairman Takano Announces Committee Members for 116th Congress

2019/01/17

WASHINGTON – Today, Chairman Mark Takano (CA-41) released the following statement announcing the Democratic Members who will serve on the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Committee during the 116th Congress.    “I am pleased to welcome the new Members who will make up the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs and look forward to continuing our work to improve access to care, expand earned benefits, and protect whistleblowers and student veterans. Our Committee’s membership will showcase the diversity of our nations' veterans including a Congresswoman who served as a Surface Warfare Officer in the United States Navy, an Army veteran representing the Northern Mariana Islands, an Army Ranger, National Guardsman, Navy veteran whose father served in Vietnam, and a Marine Corps JAG. As our nation’s veteran population changes, our Committee will remain focused on meeting veterans challenges and working to prepare VA for the future.”    House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Members:    - Congressman Mark Takano (CA-41) - Congresswoman Julia Brownley (CA-26) - Congresswoman Kathleen Rice (NY-04) - Congressman Conor Lamb (PA-17) - Congressman Mike Levin (CA-49) - Congressman Max Rose (NY-11) - Congressman Anthony Brindisi (NY-22) - Congressman Gil Cisneros (CA-39) - Congresswoman Susie Lee (NV-03) - Congresswoman Lauren Underwood (IL-14) - Congressman Joe Cunningham (SC-01) - Congresswoman Elaine Luria (VA-02) - Congressman Chris Pappas (NH-01) - Congressman Colin Allred (TX-32) - Congressman Collin Peterson (MN-07) - Congressman Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan (Northern Mariana Islands)   ### Read More

Chairman Takano To Secretary Wilkie – Protect VA Whistleblowers During Shutdown

2019/01/11

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Mark Takano (CA-41) released the following statement after sending a letter to Robert Wilkie, Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs, urging him to protect VA whistleblowers during the government shutdown: Chairman Mark Takano wrote, “It has come to my attention that whistleblowers at the Department of Veterans Affairs are unable to receive determinations from the Office of Special Counsel due to the partial government shut down.” “VA whistleblowers facing retaliation from their supervisors for blowing the whistle on fraud, waste, abuse, mismanagement, and criminal activity within the Department should not be denied their due process rights because of the government shut down,” he continued. Full text of the letter follows and can be found here.   January 10, 2019 The Honorable Robert Wilkie Secretary Department of Veterans Affairs 810 Vermont Avenue N.W. Washington, D.C. 20571 Dear Secretary Wilkie, It has come to my attention that whistleblowers at the Department of Veterans Affairs are unable to receive determinations from the Office of Special Counsel due to the partial government shut down. I request that you immediately cease initiation of removal, demotion, or suspension proceedings and immediately suspend such proceedings initiated since December 22, 2018 against VA employees who allege they are subject to prohibited personnel practices while OSC remains closed. Over 40 percent of OSC’s whistleblower complaints are from VA employees. The closure of OSC due to the government shut down, and its inability to make determinations on behalf of VA whistleblowers or send receipts of whistleblower complaints filed should not be used by retaliating supervisors to evade the law. Under Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017, (Pub. L. No. 115-41), VA employees seeking corrective action from the Office of Special Counsel due to reprisal and other prohibited personnel practices described under 5 U.S.C. § 2302(b), may not be removed, demoted, or suspended without the approval of the Special Counsel. VA whistleblowers facing retaliation from their supervisors for blowing the whistle on fraud, waste, abuse, mismanagement, and criminal activity within the Department should not be denied their due process rights because of the government shut down.  Please provide a response to this request by Monday, January 14, 2019 with an explanation of actions taken by the Department resulting from this request.   If you have questions or require additional information, please contact Grace Rodden, General Counsel at grace.rodden@mail.house.gov or at (202) 225- 9756.  Sincerely, MARK TAKANO Chairman CC: The Honorable David P. Roe, M.D. Ranking Member   ### Read More

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Contact Information

335 Cannon HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone 202-225-3527
Fax 202-225-5486
veterans.house.gov


Membership

Jodey Arrington

TEXAS' 19th DISTRICT

Jim Banks

INDIANA's 3rd DISTRICT

Jack Bergman

MICHIGAN's 1st DISTRICT

Gus Bilirakis

FLORIDA's 12th DISTRICT

Mike Bost

ILLINOIS' 12th DISTRICT

Neal Dunn

FLORIDA's 2nd DISTRICT

Bill Flores

TEXAS' 17th DISTRICT

Clay Higgins

LOUISIANA's 3rd DISTRICT

Brian Mast

FLORIDA's 18th DISTRICT

Amata Radewagen

AMERICAN SAMOA

Phil Roe

TENNESSEE's 1st DISTRICT