02.27.14

Senator Baldwin Supports Veterans Health and Benefits and Military Retirement Pay Restoration Act of 2014

Bipartisan legislation to improve the lives of our nation’s service members, veterans, and their survivors

Washington D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin cosponsored bipartisan legislation to improve the lives of our nation’s service members, veterans, and their survivors. The Comprehensive Veterans Health and Benefits and Military Retirement Pay Restoration Act of 2014 expands and improves the health care and job training available to our nation’s veterans, bolsters benefits for surviving spouses and children and makes the Veterans’ Administration more transparent and efficient.
 
“Our brave men and women in uniform make great sacrifices on our behalf. We have a shared responsibility to ensure that when they return home, they have access to the care they need and the benefits they’ve earned and deserve,” said Baldwin. “That includes expanded education opportunities and better job training and employment options so that we can help serve those who have served us as they transition to civilian life. This bipartisan measure also contains important provisions that would improve the delivery of care and benefits to veterans who have experienced sexual trauma while serving in the military. I’m proud to have worked with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support commonsense legislation that helps us keep our promise to those who have served our country. It is disappointing that some have chosen to play politics and stall this bipartisan effort to do right by our veterans.”
 
This bill comes at a critical time for our nation’s veterans, as Iraq and Afghanistan veterans begin to access services at record numbers and veterans from previous conflicts continue to seek care. In addition, the bill is fully paid for with savings from winding down two wars overseas.
 
The bill contains provisions that would improve the lives of our nation’s service members, veterans, and their survivors, including:

  • Restoration of Full COLA for Military Retirees: This legislation would restore full cost-of-living adjustments for all military retirees.
  • Authorization of Major Medical Facility Leases:  This legislation would authorize VA to enter into 27 major medical facility leases in 18 states and Puerto Rico.
  • VA Health Care and Dental Care Expansion:  This legislation includes provisions that would expand access to VA health care – including complementary and alternative medicine – and dental care, in a cost-effective and equitable way.
  • Ending the benefits backlog:  Members from both sides of the aisle have presented legislative solutions (incorporated in this bill) that would support VA’s ongoing efforts and would make needed improvements to the claims system.
  • In-State Tuition Assistance for Post-9/11 Veterans:  This legislation would give our transitioning service members a fair shot at attaining their educational goals without incurring an additional financial burden.
  • Extension of Health Care Access for Recently Separated Veterans:  This legislation would extend from five to ten years unfettered access to VA health care for recently separated veterans to address their health care needs early.
  • Renew Our VOW to Hire Heroes: This legislation would reauthorize provisions from the VOW to Hire Heroes Act of 2011, including a two-year extension for the Veterans Retraining Assistance Program.
  • Sexual Assault:  This legislation contains important provisions that would improve the delivery of care and benefits to veterans who experienced sexual trauma while serving in the military.
  • Service members Civil Relief Act:  This legislation would enhance and improve the protections of the Service members Civil Relief Act, which are of particular importance to members of the Reserve Components during periods of active military service.
  • Expanding the Caregivers Program:  This legislation would provide caregiver benefits to veterans of ALL generations in a similar manner as post-9/11 veterans.  We all know many wives, husbands, mothers, fathers and other loved ones have put their own lives on hold to care for those who are unable to fully care for themselves as a result of their service to this nation – this legislation rectifies an inequity by giving the same additional services and benefits to caregivers of other conflicts, including Vietnam, that are currently available to only caregivers of post-9/11 veterans.

The bill is supported by over 30 veteran’s organizations, including; The American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, Wounded Warrior Project, Disabled American Veterans, Military Officers Association of America, Military Order of the Purple Heart, The Retired Enlisted Association, Commissioned Officers Association of the U.S. Public Health Service, VetsFirst, United States Army Warrant Officers Association, Easter Seals Disability Services, Association of the United States Navy, Marine Corps Reserve Association, Gold Star Wives, National Guard Association of the United States, Paralyzed Veterans of America, National Military Family Association, Enlisted Association of the National Guard of the United States and many more.