Today, Chairman Phil Roe, M.D. (R-Tenn.) announced the leadership for the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs for the 115th Congress.
Roe released the following statement:
“These incoming subcommittee chairmen have impressive backgrounds in public service, and many of them have served in the military. They’ve each been tireless advocates for veterans, and I’m confident they will keep fighting to improve the lives of our nation’s heroes as chairmen of their respective subcommittees. I am also glad Rep. Bilirakis will continue serving as vice chairman. I look forward to working with Rep. Bilirakis and the subcommittee chairmen to pass meaningful legislation to reform the Department of Veterans Affairs and continue the committee’s diligent oversight.”
115th Congress Leadership:
Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL): Vice Chairman
Rep. Mike Bost (R-IL): Chairman, Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs
Rep. Jodey Arrington (R-TX): Chairman, Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity
Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-OH): Chairman, Subcommittee on Health
Rep. Jack Bergman (R-MI): Chairman, Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Read More
Today, Chairman Phil Roe, M.D. (R-Tenn.) released the following statement after President-elect Trump nominated Dr. David J. Shulkin to serve as Secretary of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs:
“I am pleased President-elect Trump has chosen a physician to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs, especially one familiar with the integrating of private practitioners into the VA's network of health care providers. I’ve long said I would be happy to work with anyone committed to ensuring our heroes have access to the services they have earned, especially quality health care, and I look forward to working with Dr. Shulkin to bring wholesale reform to the Department.”
Dr. Shulkin currently serves as the Under Secretary for Health for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. He has served in that post since 2015. Read More
Today, House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Phil Roe, M.D. (R-Tenn.) released the following statement after eight new Republican members were chosen to serve on the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs:
“I’m excited to welcome this group of lawmakers to the committee. From military service to health care expertise, these members will bring their own valuable experiences to the committee, and will keep us moving in the right direction to build a better VA. I’m especially proud that more than half of the committee’s Republican members are veterans themselves. I look forward to working with them as we continue our efforts to increase veterans’ access to quality health care, honor our nation’s heroes and ensure veterans and their families can utilize the services they have earned.”
Republican Members for the 115th Congress
Gus M. Bilirakis (R-FL)
Mike Coffman (R-CO)
Brad Wenstrup (R-OH)
Amata Coleman Radewagen (R-American Samoa)
Mike Bost (R-IL)
Jodey Arrington (R-TX)
Jim Banks (R-IN)
Jack Bergman (R-MI)
Neal Dunn (R-FL)
Clay Higgins (R-LA)
John Rutherford (R-FL)
Bruce Poliquin (R-ME)
Jenniffer Gonzalez (R-Puerto Rico)
This list is not in order of seniority Read More
Today, House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Phil Roe, M.D. (R-Tenn.) released the following statement after Rep. Tim Walz was elected Ranking Member of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs:
“I’m thrilled to hear that my good friend and fellow veteran Rep. Tim Walz has been elected Ranking Member of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. Rep. Walz has been a tireless advocate for veterans, and I know he will continue that fight as Ranking Member. I look forward to working alongside Rep. Walz as we strive on both sides of the aisle to improve the lives of our nation’s heroes. I’d also like to thank Rep. Mark Takano for his leadership on the committee.”
Walz retired from the Army National Guard as Command Sergeant Major. Walz is the highest ranking enlisted soldier ever to serve in Congress. Read More
Today, House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Phil Roe, M.D. (R-Tenn.) released the following statement after two bills – the Biological Implant Tracking and Veterans Safety Act and the Ensuring VA Employee Accountability Act – to bring accountability to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) passed the House with broad, bipartisan support:
“The very first bills passed by the House in the 115th Congress are bipartisan bills to bring much-needed accountability to the VA, and that is not a coincidence. These important pieces of legislation are just two of many steps House Republicans are taking to reform the VA.
“These commonsense reforms will help ensure veterans receive the quality health care they deserve while also holding VA employees who fail in their duty to care for veterans accountable. As I’ve said time and time again, I know the vast majority of VA employees get up and go to work every day with the sole intention of serving our veterans. It’s unfair to these hardworking men and women that the Department continually refuses to hold bad actors accountable. As Chairman, I look forward to working with my colleagues in the House and Senate, as well as President-elect Trump and the Trump administration, to fundamentally change the way the VA does business.”
The Biological Implant Tracking and Veterans Safety Act directs the VA secretary to adopt the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) unique device identification system (UDI) for labeling of all biological implants and to implement an automated inventory system to ensure veterans do not receive expired or otherwise contaminated tissue. In January 2014, a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report found that the VA does not use a standardized process for tracking biological tissue from cadaver donor to living veteran recipient. In the event of a recall, it would often be impossible to track down which patient received contaminated tissue. The same GAO report detailed the Veterans Health Administration’s failure to consistently ensure they are purchasing tissue from biological implant vendors that have registered with the FDA.
The Ensuring VA Employee Accountability Act, introduced by Rep. Ryan Costello (R-PA), would require all reprimands and admonishments given to VA employees to remain in their file as long as they are employed by the Department. Under current policy, an admonishment and reprimand can only stay on an employee’s record for two and three years, respectively. Read More
After VA Deputy Secretary Sloan Gibson asked House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Jeff Miller to repeal cuts to VA employee bonuses used to fund opioid-addiction treatment programs for veterans included in the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2016, Miller rebutted Gibson in a letter and released the below statement.
“Clearly, the judgment of VA leaders is clouded by their continual obsession with cash bonuses, awards and incentives for employees even in the face of the ongoing scandals plaguing the agency. Imagine how much better off the department and our veterans would be if VA leaders spent more time focused on fixing the agency’s many problems rather than appeasing bureaucrats and union bosses.” - Rep. Jeff Miller, Chairman, House Committee on Veterans' Affairs
Deputy Sec. Gibson Letter to Chairman Miller
Dec. 19, 2016
Chairman Miller Letter to Deputy Sec. Gibson
Dec. 20, 2016 Read More
Today the House passed two veterans-related bills:
H.R. 5099, as amended, the Communities Helping Invest through Property and Improvements Needed for Veterans Act of 2016, also referred to as the CHIP IN for Vets Act of 2016, would authorize the Department of Veterans Affairs to carry out a pilot program to allow non-federal entities - including state or city governments, nonprofit organizations and benefactors - to donate up to five facilities to VA.
H.R. 6435 would allow directors of VA’s regional networks to enter into a contract with an appropriate non-VA entity with expertise in health care evaluation to investigate any VA medical center within that director’s jurisdiction.
These bills now await consideration by the Senate. Following House passage of the bills, Chairman Miller released the below statement.
“The support and involvement of outside stakeholders is absolutely crucial to VA’s success, and these bills would help facilitate more of that. H.R. 6435 allows vital third party oversight of VA facilities, and the CHIP IN for Vets Act would broaden the pool of resources available to VA for its infrastructure needs. I’m proud to stand with my colleagues in passing these bills and urge the Senate to consider them without delay.” - Rep. Jeff Miller, Chairman, House Committee on Veterans' Affairs Read More
Today the House passed six veterans-related bills, including:
H.R. 6416, the Jeff Miller and Richard Blumenthal Veterans Health Care and Benefits Improvement Act of 2016, would make a number of improvements to VA health care, the disability compensation process and other veterans services. The bill would clarify VA’s responsibility to provide treatment to individuals seeking emergency care, expand the amount of time that certain widows and widowers may receive and utilize Post 9/11 G.I. Bill educational assistance benefits under the Fry Scholarship and require the secretary to notify Congress if an employee is placed on administrative leave for more than 14 days in a single year. It would also expand eligibility for medallions to mark the graves of our nation’s veterans and Medal of Honor recipients who are buried in private cemeteries.
H.R. 5399, the Ethical Patient Care for Veterans Act of 2016 would require VA doctors to promptly report unethical activities of other physicians to the applicable state licensing authority, in accordance with the American Medical Association Code of Medical Ethics.
H.R. 4352, as amended, the Faster Care for Veterans Act of 2016, would direct VA to carry out an 18-month pilot program of commercial patient self-scheduling software and establish capabilities standards for such a system.
S. 3076, the Charles Duncan Buried with Honor Act of 2016, would authorize VA to furnish a casket or urn for a deceased veteran laid to rest in a national, state or tribal cemetery if their family cannot afford it.
S. 3076 now awaits the president’s signature, while the other bills await consideration by the Senate. Following House passage of the bills, Chairman Miller released the below statement.
“These bipartisan bills are designed to help improve health care, benefits and services for those who are most deserving – our nation’s veterans. I’m especially proud of the provision in H.R. 6416 that brings transparency and accountability to VA’s often-abused administrative leave system. I applaud my colleagues for passing this meaningful legislation to improve care for our nation’s veterans and honor those who have fallen.” - Rep. Jeff Miller, Chairman, House Committee on Veterans' Affairs Read More
Today Chairman Jeff Miller released the following statement after Rep. Phil Roe was elected by the Republican Steering Committee to serve as House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs chairman for the 115th Congress.
“I would like to congratulate Rep. Roe on his hard-earned victory as well as the steering committee for its excellent decision. Under Roe’s leadership, I am confident the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs will continue to serve veterans by setting the standard for congressional legislative and oversight accomplishments.” - Rep. Jeff Miller, Chairman, House Committee on Veterans' Affairs Read More
After new scandals surfaced at the Washington, D.C., VA Medical Center as well as the Tomah, Wis., VA Medical Center, Chairman Jeff Miller released the below statement:
“More than two years after the biggest scandal in VA history, the department’s problems remain on full display. In Washington, more than 2,000 veterans who asked VA for help fell through the cracks, including three who died before being contacted by VA. And in Tomah, Wis., nearly 600 veterans may have been infected with Hepatitis or HIV due to shoddy sterilization procedures. Under VA’s broken civil-service system, not a single employee has been seriously held accountable for these egregious instances of botched care, according to VA records. And until VA leaders get behind commonsense accountability legislation – such as the House-passed VA Accountability First and Appeals Modernization Act – VA’s problems will only continue.” - Rep. Jeff Miller, Chairman, House Committee on Veterans' Affairs
Administrative Summary of Investigation, VA Medical Center in Washington, D.C.
VA Office of Inspector General
Nov. 29, 2016
Tomah VA: Veterans could have been infected with Hepatitis, HIV
NBC, Eau Claire, Wis.
Nov. 29, 2016
In Bipartisan Vote, House Passes VA Accountability, Appeals Reform
Sept. 14, 2016 Read More