111th Congress' Veterans Legislation Achievements Acknowledged

According to the American Legion, the 111th Congress has made outstanding achievements regarding veterans legislation this year.

“The 111th Congress may be remembered for banner legislation such as health-care reform, financial regulation, and the recovery act,” stated Jimmie Foster, the National Commander of the American Legion. “But, in our view, the real successes were the passage of bills that affected nearly every veteran in America.”

More noted achievements pertaining to veterans include the passage of the Veterans Health Care Budget Reform and Transparency Act of 2009 which granted appropriations for VA health care in advance for one full year, as well as the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2010 which increased VA funding to over $100 billion for 2010, which was a VA first.

The 111th Congress also enacted the Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act of 2010 to provide assistance to family caregivers, additional assistance to female veterans, and greater VA health care access to veterans living in more rural areas.

Legislation has also been passed to provide veterans receiving VA benefits with a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA), nursing home care to parents of veterans who died during active duty, and benefits to Vietnam veterans suffering from the effects of Agent Orange exposure.

Although Congress is becoming increasingly partisan, stated Tim Tetz, the legislative director of the America Legion, “the bipartisan passage of so many veterans bills by the 111th Congress certainly demonstrates its commitment to honor the sacrifices of those who have served in uniform.”

The 111th Congress is hoping to add the Veterans Benefits Act of 2010 to its list of achievements.  The legislation is currently waiting for the signature of President Obama, and will clarify current VA benefits, and will expand upon those relating to homeless veterans, burial benefits, and adaptive automobile funds for disabled veterans.

The American Legion still plans to push further veterans legislation in the House and Senate, including a repeal of the disabled veterans tax and the expansion of the Post 9/11 GI Bill, but still commends the 111th Congress for their current successes.

“I came to town to deliver my testimony on the needs of our nation’s veterans,” stated Foster. “Before I left, Congress had passed half of our legislative agenda.”

Photo thanks to Harriseye under creative common license on Flickr.

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