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Wittman Introduces Series of Veterans Bills

Legislation aimed at removing administrative roadblocks to VA services, improving customer experience within VA;
Introduction coincides with Vietnam Veterans Day

WASHINGTON -- As Vietnam Veterans Day observances take place across the Commonwealth of Virginia and around the nation, Congressman Rob Wittman (VA-01) today introduced a series of veterans-related bills.

The legislation is aimed at removing administrative roadblocks to Veterans Administration (VA) services and improving the customer experience within the VA.

"Our Veterans made great sacrifices for us on the battlefield and we owe them a debt of gratitude for that service,” Rep. Wittman said. “These bills make it easier for Veterans to access services within the VA and improves the care they receive once they are in the system. We have made great strides recently in improving the VA’s level of care for our Veterans. But we have more work to do. My hope is that these bills can be part of that ongoing effort.”

Rep. Wittman today introduced three veterans bills, each of them with bipartisan original cosponsors. Information on each bill is below.

The Veterans Choice Accountability Act expands Veteran access to Non-VA medical care and establishes a review of the VA’s implementation of the Veteran’s Choice Program. (The Veterans Choice Program allows veterans to seek medical care outside of the VA system if long wait times or a lack of specialists are a barrier to accessing care.)

The Veterans Collaboration Act creates a VA Pilot Program to foster collaboration between qualified non-profit veterans service organizations (VSOs) and educational institutions that provide assistance to Veterans.

The Veterans Affairs Transfer of Information and Sharing of Disability Examination Procedures with DoD Doctors Act requires that the service member's separation physical examinations conducted by military doctors be used to determine service connected disability. This would speed access to care for veterans by not subjecting them to another round of medical screenings before a disability rating is issued. The bill also continues to demand that the VA and DoD share medical and service record data electronically.

These bills are just the latest in Rep. Wittman's ongoing efforts to support our nation's veterans. Already this year the House passed, with Rep. Wittman's support, the following veterans bills.

The VA Accountability First Act of 2017 would provide the VA Secretary increased flexibility to remove, demote, or suspend any VA employee, including Senior Executive Service employees, for poor performance or misconduct.

H.R. 1367 strengthens the VA’s ability to identify staffing shortages, recruit employees to fill vacant positions, quickly on-board new hires, and retain high-performing workers across the country. It also contains provisions that would improve leadership and accountability throughout VA and increase the number of veterans in the federal workforce.

The HIRE Vets Act
promotes private sector recruiting, hiring, and retaining of men and women who served honorably in the U.S. military through a voluntary and effective program. Specifically, it would create an awards program recognizing the meaningful and verifiable efforts undertaken by employers – both large and small – to hire and retain veterans.

streamlines the benefits claims process between the VA and the congressional staff processing those claims on behalf of veterans and their families.

Congressman Rob Wittman represents the 1st District of Virginia. He serves on the House Natural Resources Committee and the House Armed Services Committee, where he is the Chairman of the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee.