Veterans’ Benefits Bill Passes in the Senate

0
478
We The People Flag Constitution

A Civil War-era policy that prevents veterans from hiring attorneys moved one step closer to being removed Tuesday when the U.S. Senate unanimously approved S. 2694, the “Veterans’ Choice of Representation and Benefits Enhancement Act of 2006.” If adopted by the House, the legislation will overturn a policy that denies veterans the right to hire attorneys to help them seek benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Under current law, a veteran has to exhaust the VA process which may take years before hiring an attorney.

“I am delighted that we are closer to providing veterans and their families with the option of hiring attorneys to help them navigate the VA system. Doing away with this outdated law will allow veterans like all other adults in this nation to have the assistance of counsel if they so choose,” said the bill’s sponsor, U.S. Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho), Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.

The legislation, which was approved by the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs last month, also would require the removal of the ashes of convicted double murderer Russell Wagner from Arlington National Cemetery. Wagner brutally murdered Daniel Davis, 84, and Wilda Davis, 80, in Maryland in 1994…

Wagner was later convicted and died in prison. His remains were then placed in Arlington as the result of a loophole in the law barring the burial of capital offenders in national cemeteries, which has since been closed. The Davis’ son, Vernon, is a veteran and testified before the committee last year along with Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD). Both asked for Wagner’s remains to be removed.

The legislation also includes changes to the Montgomery G.I. Bill and the Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance benefits program changes that were sought by Sen. Conrad Burns (R-MT) and Mike DeWine (R-OH). If approved by the House, veterans and survivors will be eligible for accelerated educational benefits for high-cost, short-term training leading to jobs in five areas of the economy: transportation, construction, hospitality, energy and high technology.

The bill also includes a provision sought by Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-HI), the committee’s Ranking Member, that would require VA to pay full costs for certain service-connected veterans residing in veterans’ homes run by state governments, as well as provide medications for certain service-connected conditions for veterans in those state-run facilities. Under current law, the federal government only pays a portion of those costs.

The bill would also allow VA to designate beds in privately-run care centers as “state homes.”

“In large portions of Idaho and in other rural parts of America, we often don’t need a full-fledged nursing home for veterans but having a few beds available could help keep a veteran closer to home and loved ones,” Craig said.

The legislation would also:

  • Allow tribes to apply for grants to establish veterans’ cemeteries on Native lands
  • Improve efforts to prevent homelessness among veterans, especially among those who served in Iraq and Afghanistan
  • Establish an Office of Rural Health in the Office of the Under Secretary for Health

 

ATTENTION READERS

We See The World From All Sides and Want YOU To Be Fully Informed
In fact, intentional disinformation is a disgraceful scourge in media today. So to assuage any possible errant incorrect information posted herein, we strongly encourage you to seek corroboration from other non-VT sources before forming an educated opinion.

About VT - Policies & Disclosures - Comment Policy
Due to the nature of uncensored content posted by VT's fully independent international writers, VT cannot guarantee absolute validity. All content is owned by the author exclusively. Expressed opinions are NOT necessarily the views of VT, other authors, affiliates, advertisers, sponsors, partners, or technicians. Some content may be satirical in nature. All images are the full responsibility of the article author and NOT VT.
Previous articleWe’re All Enemy Combatants Now
Next articleVietnam Wall Visitor Center Approved