U.S. House of Representatives Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Jeff Miller (R-FL) and Ranking Member Mike Michaud (D-ME) have introduced H.R. 813, the Putting Veterans Funding First Act of 2013.
The bill would require Congress to fully fund the Department of Veterans’ Affairs discretionary budget a year ahead of schedule, ensuring that all VA services will have timely, predictable funding that our nation’s veterans deserve and depend upon.
In late April, the Department of Veterans Affairs announced that it plans to make significant inroads to the backlog of medical claims that are one year or older within the next six months. That means there are at least 250,000 outstanding claims that need attention within the next 182 days. (The 250,000 claims that have been awaiting decisions for one year or longer are part of the VA’s overall backlog, which includes all claims pending for at least 125 days. That backlog is now at 570,000 claims.)
“Considering that the current wait for VA benefits is running 316-327 days, the current VA pronouncement sounds something like a hollow boast,” said Gerald Johnson, Executive Director of the U.S. Veterans Hospice Committee. “But we are confident that great strides will happen either way. It is critical for the most vulnerable vets, the homeless and terminally ill populations, to receive medical benefits as quickly as humanly possible to ease their pain and suffering.”
The Winter Conservative Political Action conference (CPAC) held in Washington, DC, recently is the premier gathering for right -of-center grassroots activists nationwide. As the staff of the U.S. Veterans Committee worked the room, they were pleased to observe that many of the attendees and media were very receptive to hearing about our mission to bring hospice care to homeless and terminally ill veterans.
Below is a list of legislation currently under consideration by members of the 113th Congress. To date no bill to specifically address the unique needs of homeless and terminally ill veterans has been introduced.
S.825 – Homeless Veterans Prevention Act of 2013
Sponsor: Sen Sanders, Bernard [I-VT] (introduced 4/25/2013) Cosponsors (1)
To amend title 38, United States Code, to improve the provision of services for homeless veterans, and for other purposes.
4/25/2013: Sponsor introductory remarks on measure. (CR S3036)
4/25/2013: Read twice and referred to the Committee on Veterans' Affairs. (text of measure as introduced: CR S3037-3038)