-----Original Message-----
From: JEREBEERY@aol.com
To: JEREBEERY@aol.com
Sent: Wed, 30 Apr 2008 6:17 pm
Subject: News from Chairman Bob Filner [ ALL STATIONS! ]

NEWS FROM…
CHAIRMAN BOB FILNER
HOUSE COMMITTEE ON VETERANS’ AFFAIRS
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 30, 2008

http://veterans.house.gov
House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Approves Landmark Bills 

Washington, D.C. – Today, the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee led by Chairman Bob Filner (D-CA), approved fourteen bills to improve services and benefits provided for America’s veterans at the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.

“Caring for veterans is an ongoing cost of war and the measures passed today will have an impact on our veterans and their dependents,” said Chairman Filner.

“I would like to thank the Subcommittee Chairs and the Ranking Members for their hard work and strong bipartisan leadership in crafting these bills that we have passed today.” 

Five of the bills passed today address the health care needs of veterans, including a bill to authorize major medical facility projects and leases for Fiscal Year 2009.

1. H.R. 2790, as amended - To amend title 38, United States Code, to establish the position of Director of Physician Assistant Services within the office of the Under Secretary of Veterans Affairs for Health.

2. H.R. 3819 - To amend title 38, United States Code, to require the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to reimburse veterans receiving emergency treatment in non-Department of Veterans Affairs facilities for such treatment until such veterans are transferred to Department facilities, and for other purposes.

3. H.R. 5729 - To amend title 38, United States Code, to direct the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to provide comprehensive health care to children of Vietnam veterans born with Spina Bifida, and for other purposes. (Passed with amendment)

4. H.R. 5554, as amended - To amend title 38, United States Code, to expand and improve health care services available to veterans from the Department of Veterans Affairs for substance use disorders, and for other purposes.

5. H.R. 5856 – To authorize major medical facility projects and major medical facility leases for the Department of Veterans Affairs for fiscal year 2009, and for other purposes.

The Committee took great strides to improve readjustment services and benefits for troops and veterans with the passage of seven bills.  The Committee approved legislation to improve the VA home loan program, including H.R. 4883 and H.R. 4884, both introduced by Bob Filner (D-CA), Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs.  H.R. 4883 would prohibit foreclosure of property owned by a service member for one year following a period of military service.  H.R. 4884, the Helping Our Veterans to Keep Their Homes Act of 2008, would increase the maximum home loan guarantee amount and reduce the home loan funding fees for veterans.  The Committee also approved H.R. 5684, a bill to improve veterans’ educational benefits for active duty troops.  The author of the bill, Congresswoman Herseth Sandlin, accepted an amendment to also include educational
benefit increases for members of the National Guard and Reserve.

6. H.R. 3681 - To amend title 38, United States Code, to authorize the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to advertise in the national media to promote awareness of benefits under laws administered by the Secretary.  (Passed with amendments)

7. H.R. 3889, as amended – To amend title 38, United States Code, to require the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to conduct a longitudinal study of the vocational rehabilitation programs administered by the Secretary.  (Passed with amendment)

8. H.R. 4883 – To amend the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act to provide for a limitation on the sale, foreclosure, or seizure of property owned by a servicemember during the one-year period following the servicemember's period of military service. (Passed with amendment)

9. H.R. 4884, as amended – To amend title 38, United States Code, to make certain improvements in the home loan guaranty programs administered by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, and for other purposes. (Passed with amendment)

10.     H.R. 4889, as amended – To amend title 38, United States Code, to recodify as part of that title chapter 1607 of title 10, United States Code.

11.     H.R. 5664, as amended – To amend title 38, United States Code, to direct the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to update at least once every six years the plans and specifications for specially adapted housing furnished to veterans by the Secretary.

12.     H.R. 5684, as amended – To amend title 38, United States Code, to make certain improvements in the basic educational assistance program administered by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, and for other purposes. (Passed with amendments) The final two bills approved by the Committee would provide a cost-of-living adjustment for
service-connected disability compensation rates and would modernize the disability claims processing system at the VA. 

13.     H.R. 5826 – To increase, effective as of December 1, 2008, the rates of disability compensation for veterans with service-connected disabilities and the rates of dependency and indemnity compensation for survivors of certain service-connected disabled veterans, and for other purposes.

14.     H.R. 5892 - To amend title 38, United States Code, to direct the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to modernize the disability benefits claims processing system of the Department of Veterans Affairs to ensure the accurate and timely delivery of compensation to veterans and their families and survivors, and for other purposes.

“This Committee continues to take bold action to keep the promises that have been made to our veterans,” said Chairman Filner.  “I thank my colleagues for their persistent efforts to make positive differences in the lives of our veterans.”   
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Jere Beery