Simpson’s Longstanding Support for Veterans
Washington, D.C. – Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson today voiced his support for veterans in this and other congresses.
“Our veterans deserve the best treatment available on behalf of their sacrifice and service to our country,” said Simpson. “The responsibility to meet the needs of our veterans and support their physical, mental, and financial well-being is not one I take lightly. This is why I am pleased to review some of the progress Congress has made in this endeavor.”
During the 117th Congress, a number of bills have passed in the House of Representatives with Congressman Simpson’s support:
- The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2022. This bill approved an additional $55 million to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to address the disability claims processing backlog and provided disability compensation for 5.7 million veterans and their survivors. These resources will serve to expand access to services for veterans and will boost oversight and accountability across the department. H.R. 2471 became law on March 15, 2022.
- H.R. 2911 - VA Transparency & Trust Act of 2021. This bill requires VA to submit to Congress a plan for spending COVID-19 relief funds, requires regular updates on that plan, and requires a Government Accountability Office report reviewing the expenditures of those funds. This bill became law on November 22, 2021, and will ensure that VA is utilizing all COVID-19 funding in the most effective way possible.
- H.R. 958 - Protecting Moms Who Served Act. This bill requires VA to implement a maternity care coordination program and requires VA to work with community care partners to provide support for pregnant and post-partum veterans. The reality of many VA medical centers is that they are not well-equipped to deliver maternal health care, and this legislation would help them do just that.
- H.R. 1257 - Homeless Veterans CREDIT Act. This bill requires VA to conduct a comprehensive study on access to, and use and effects of, financial and credit counseling for homeless veterans.
- H.R. 1448 - PAWS for Veterans Therapy Act. This bill, which Congressman Simpson cosponsored, creates a pilot program within VA to provide veterans with access to treatment through work with service dogs. VA will partner with non-profit organizations working with veterans and service dogs to create work-therapy programs where veterans can learn the art and science of training dogs. H.R. 1448 became law on August 25, 2021.
Additionally, in the 116th Congress, Congressman Simpson proudly supported bills to address toxic exposure through military service, including:
- H.R. 299, the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act, which extended the presumption of service connection for diseases associated with Agent Orange to veterans who served offshore of Vietnam. H.R. 299 became law on June 25, 2019.
- H.R. 2433, the Burn Pit Registry Enhancement Act of 2021, which would have automatically registered veterans in the Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry (AHOBPR) if they had been based or stationed where an open burn pit was used.
Congressman Simpson has also worked with the Idaho delegation to ensure that the veterans served by the Boise Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC) receive the quality care they deserve, including through the rollout of the new Oracle-Cerner Electronic Health Record (EHR) system. The VA Office of the Inspector General (OIG) has released multiple reports detailing deficiencies with the new EHR system, which was first deployed at the Mann-Grandstaff VAMC in Spokane, Washington. These deficiencies have inhibited, rather than enhanced, patients’ access to care.
“As VA reassesses the Cerner implementation at the Boise VAMC, Members and staff of the Idaho Congressional Delegation will continue to closely monitor the situation and stand ready to assist veterans with any issues they may encounter when accessing VA health care,” the delegation said in a statement earlier this year.
“Though there is work yet to be done, I am committed to honoring the sacrifice of the many men and women who fought for our freedom. As a member of the House Appropriations Committee, I will continue to work with my colleagues to secure funding for critical VA programs that guarantee adequate and accessible health care, employment, and housing for the veterans of our great country,” said Simpson.