Senate Veterans Affairs Committee Passes Pending Legislation
Today, Wednesday, August 5, 2020, the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, Chair Jerry Moran, R-Kan and Ranking Minority Member Jon Tester-D-MT, passed the following 12 legislative bills out of committee and 2 were withdrawn by members.
1. S. 3282 (Cassidy/Tester) Protecting Business Opportunities for Veterans Act of 2020. Passed
2. S. 2558 (Sinema/Cramer) Nursing Home Care for Native American Veterans Act; A bill to amend title 38, United States Code, to authorize the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to make certain grants to assist nursing homes for veterans located on tribal lands. Passed
3. S. 3643 (Loeffler/Sinema/Blackburn) VA Mission Telehealth Clarification Act. Passed
4. S.2950 (Sullivan/Manchin/Tillis/Rounds/Boozman) Veterans Burn Pits Exposure Recognition Act of 2019 (Committee Print); A bill to amend title 38, United States Code, to concede exposure to airborne hazards and toxins from burn pits under certain circumstances, and for other purposes. Passed
5. S. 4384 (Sullivan/Blumenthal) K2 Toxic Exposure Study; A bill to require the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to address exposure by members of the Armed Forces to toxic substances at Karshi-Khanabad Air Base, Uzbekistan, and for other purposes. Passed
6. S. 4393 (Tillis) Toxic Exposure in the American Military Act of 2020 (Committee Print); A bill to improve the provision of health care and other benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs for veterans who were exposed to toxic substances, and for other purposes. Withdrawn
7. S. 711 (Tester/Moran) CARE for Reservists Act of 2019. Passed
8. S. 332 (Blumenthal) Agent Orange Exposure Fairness Act of 2019 (Committee Print); A bill to amend title 38, United States Code, to remove the manifestation period required for the presumptions of service connection for chloracne, porphyria cutanea tarda, and acute and subacute peripheral neuropathy associated with exposure to certain herbicide agents, and for other purposes. VVA AO-17 Convention Resolution. Recognition was given by Senator Blumenthal-CT to VVA member Gerry Wright-CT for his hard work on the bill during the hearing as the bill Passed.
9. S. 805 (Tester/Boozman/Brown/Blumenthal) Veterans Debt Fairness Act (Committee Print); A bill to amend title 38, United States Code, to improve the processing of veterans benefits by the Department of Veterans Affairs, to limit the authority of the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to recover overpayments made by the Department and other amounts owed by veterans to the United States, to improve the due process accorded veterans with respect to such recovery, and for other purposes. Passed
10. S. 514 (Tester/Boozman) The Deborah Sampson Act (Committee Print) – Passed
11. S. 629 (Tester/Murray/Blumenthal/Brown) Accountability in Department of Veterans Affairs Scheduling and Consult Management Act (Committee Print) – Passed
12. S. 2216 (Peters/Blackburn) TEAM Veteran Caregiver Act (Committee Print); A bill to require the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to formally recognize caregivers of veterans, notify veterans and caregivers of clinical determinations relating to eligibility for caregiver programs, and temporarily extend benefits for veterans who are determined ineligible for the family caregiver program, and for other purposes. Passed
13. S.____ (Moran/Tester/Boozman/Rounds/Sinema/Tillis/Daines/Peters/Wyden/ Lankford/Carper) Veteran Benefits Enhancement and Expansion Act of 2020. Withdrawn
14. S. 3235 (McSally/Kaine) Veterans Posttraumatic Growth Act – Passed
$5.5 Million Grant to Assist Montana Homeless Veterans
Tester Secures More Than $5.5 Million to Assist Montana Homeless Veterans
Senator announces federal funding for Volunteers of America Northern Rockies
(Big Sandy, Montana) – U.S. Senator Jon Tester announced more than $5.5 million in federal funding to help end veteran homelessness in Montana.
The $5,547,842 grant will go to the Volunteers of America Northern Rockies (VOA), a service organization based out of Billings. Since 2012, VOA has worked with hundreds of veterans and their families to help provide housing services for homeless and at-risk veterans.
“Year after year, the Volunteers of America Northern Rockies consistently do their part in helping Montana’s men and women in uniform transition to civilian life,” said Tester. “This is especially important now, with some veterans and their families struggling to find safe housing during the pandemic. These federal funds are an important investment in our state’s veterans, and will help thousands of folks get back on their feet.”
The award is a portion of the more than $400 million Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) grant administered by the VA. In fiscal year 2019, SSVF assisted more than 105,100 participants, including 70,500 veterans and 20,600 children.
As Ranking Member of the Senate Veteran’s Affairs Committee, Tester fought to include key provisions and funds in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to enable the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to provide additional support for vulnerable veterans—including programs to assist homeless veterans or those at-risk of becoming homeless. He also called on VA Secretary Robert Wilkie to implement these authorities quickly and efficiently, to provide much needed relief to veterans and their families.
Beware of Covid-19 Scams
COVID-19 Fraud Resources
We are sharing this information to ensure that you are aware that criminals are attempting to exploit COVID-19 worldwide through a variety of scams. There have been reports of:
Individuals and businesses selling fake cures for COVID-19 online and engaging in other forms of fraud
Phishing emails from entities posing as the World Health Organization or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Malicious websites and apps that appear to share virus-related information to gain and lock access to your devices until payment is received.
Seeking donations fraudulently for illegitimate or non-existent charitable organizations.
Criminals will likely continue to use new methods to exploit COVID-19 worldwide.
If you think you are a victim of a scam or attempted fraud involving COVID-19, you can report it without leaving your home through a number of platforms. Go to:
Contact the National Center for Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Report it to the FBI at tips.fbi.gov
If it’s a cyber scam, submit your complaint through https://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx
What the Federal Tade Commission is doing: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/features/coronavirus-scams-what-ftc-doing
VVA Rule on Campaign Endorsements
Vietnam Veterans of America and Campaign Endorsements
Vietnam Veterans of America National President John Rowan noted today that VVA may not make any endorsements of political candidates for any elected office. “VVA’s Constitution and our not-for-profit tax status strictly prohibit the national organization, as well as local VVA chapters and state councils, from making any such endorsements. Occasionally, confusion arises when individual VVA members—who are often very politically active—are identified as representatives of our organization. To preclude any misunderstandings, as required by our membership, we must get the word out to clarify the record,” Rowan said.
The Veterans Initiative Needs Your Help
Objects taken from the battlefields of Vietnam are more than souvenirs or war trophies. Maps, stories, after-action reports, pictures, military items may have a story that could result in finding the location of missing war dead. Can you help?
Contact the Veterans Initiative at:
Vietnam Veterans Of America
8719 Colesville Rd., Suite 100
Silver Spring, Maryland 20910