House Approves Vets Legislation, Sends Two Bills to Senate for Consideration

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The House unanimously approved Monday two bills meant to help jobless and disabled veterans. The first veterans’ bill considered, The Veteran Skills to Jobs Act (H.R. 4155), would allow veterans to substitute their military experience for certain training and certification requirements when applying for federal licenses. This is a priority for NAUS and other veterans organizations, who have consistently urged companies to accept relevant military experience in lieu of other types of certifications for many years.

The second veterans’ bill, the Veterans’ Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act (H.R. 4114), introduced by Rep. Jon Runyan (R-NJ), would increase the amounts paid to veterans for disability compensation and to their survivors for dependency and indemnity compensation by the same cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) payable to Social Security recipients. The increase (1.3% next year) would take effect on Dec. 1, 2012, and the resulting adjustment would be rounded to the next lower dollar.

Under current law, an increase in veterans disability compensation and DIC payment requires Congressional approval. Previous lawmakers believed that if the matter was left in the hands of an elected Congress the adjustment might need to be raised above Social Security due to the stark differences in the basic reason for the compensation. Over time, however, the adjustment seemed always to find delay, which caused unnecessary anxiety in the veterans community about whether the increase would be approved.

The Senate passed Wednesday HR 4155, the Federal license approval bill, and sent it to the President for signature into law. The Senate has yet to address HR 4114. It will either approve the House bill in whole or take up its own versions of the legislation, S. 2259. Neither measure is considered controversial.

House Veterans’ Committee Advances Measures to Full House

Under the bipartisan leadership of Chairman Jeff Miller (R-Fla.), the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs unanimously advanced three bills to the full House for consideration: The improving Transparency of Education Opportunities for Veterans Act of 2012, as amended (H.R. 4057), the Military Family Home Protection Act, as amended (H.R. 5747), and the Veterans Fiduciary Reform Act of 2012, as amended (H.R. 5948).

“These bills contain provisions from seventeen different legislative proposals, and represent a considerable amount of the work done by the Committee this session,” said Rep. Jeff Miller, Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.

NAUS is pleased to see, for instance, the content of Rep. Todd Akin’s “Open Burn Pit Registry Act” included in H.R. 4057. Rep. Akin’s NAUS endorsed measure would deal proactively with the high potential for health problems related to toxic fume exposure from battlefield burn pits.





NAUS is also encouraged to see The Veterans Fiduciary Reform Act of 2012 (H.R. 5948), introduced by Rep. Bill Johnson, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, favorably reported to the full House. The bill would enhance the attack on fraud within the Fiduciary Program and stir improvements in VA management and oversight.

Scam Targets Veterans, VA Warns

The Department of Veterans Affairs is warning veterans about a scheme it calls “an ‘inexcusable scam.” According to the Department, “The scam artists call veterans and say the process of dispensing their prescription medicines have changed. The scam artists then ask for credit card information.”

Dr. Gerald Cross, VA’s undersecretary for health, said, “VA simply does not call veterans and ask them to disclose personal financial information over the phone.”

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