House Approves Several SVA Policy Priorities
The House of Representatives passed a dozen pieces of legislation covering all aspects of the benefits and services used by veterans, survivors, and their families at the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Included within the dozen bills are several SVA policy priorities, such as the continuation of VA’s Round-Out Rule, the creation of a Veterans Economic Opportunity and Transition Administration within VA, additional funding for VET TEC, and continued COVID-19 protections. SVA appreciates work by the House Veterans Affairs Committee to see these bills through and looks forward to working with the Senate to ensure full passage.
GI Bill National Emergency Extended Deadline Act
Allows VA to pause GI Bill delimiting dates during a national emergency when a school closes or when a student cannot continue their program of study. The bill also addresses several outstanding priorities related to the GI Bill, such as Digital GI Bill oversight and in-state tuition for DEA beneficiaries.
Veterans Economic Opportunity and Transition Administration
Amends title 38, United States Code, to establish in the Department the a Fourth Administration with VA, which would be focused on the economic opportunity services and benefits, such as GI Bill, VR&E, home loan and related programs, TAP, and a database on small business concerns owned by veterans.
Native VetSuccess at Tribal Colleges and Universities Pilot Program Act
- Requires VA to begin five-year pilot program to establish Vet Success on Campus (VSOC) at Tribal Colleges and Universities around the country.
- Increases funding for the VET TEC pilot program to help meet demand.
- Authorizes VA to continue the “Round-Out Rule” practice for student veterans using the GI Bill, a practice that allows students to take non-required courses to maintain full-time student status in their final semester.
VA Transparency & Trust Act of 2021
Requires VA to submit a plan detailing how the agency plans to spend COVID-relief funding received. It also requires an audit report of the submitted plan.
Protecting Moms Who Served Act
Requires VA to implement the maternity care coordination program and provide community maternity care providers outside VA with training and support for the unique needs of veterans, specifically the behavior and health conditions unique to service.
PAWS for Veterans Therapy Act
- Creates a five-year pilot program to provide canine training to veterans diagnosed with PTSD, which would provide the dog and veterinary care.
- To be eligible, veterans must have PTSD diagnosis or a visual, hearing, or substantial mobility impairment, as well as other requirements the VA may require.
Improving VA Accountability to Prevent Sexual Harassment and Discrimination Act of 2021
Expands the Equal Employment Opportunity responsibilities at VA and requires a 180-day deadline for Harassment Prevention Program to be established and an accompanying handbook be disseminated by VA.
Equal Employment Counseling Modernization Act
Eliminates the cap on the number of full-time employees at VA who provide equal employment opportunity counseling.
Homeless Veterans with Children Reintegration Act
Directs Department of Labor to give homeless veterans with dependents service priority under reintegration programs for veterans experiencing homelessness.
West LA VA Campus Improvement Act of 2021
Requires VA to use any revenues associated at VA’s West Los Angeles Campus to be used exclusively for specific purposes on campus, such as: renovation and maintenance, construction, maintenance, and services related to temporary and permanent housing for homeless and at-risk veterans, minor construction projects, and community operations on campus that support emergency shelters or supportive housing for homeless or at-risk veterans and families.
Cameras in VA Medical Centers
Directs the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to submit to Congress on its policies and procedures relating to usage and maintenance of video cameras for patient safety and law enforcement at VA medical facilities.
Sgt. Ketchum Rural Veterans Mental Health Act
- Requires VA to establish three new centers of the Rural Access Network for Growth Enhancement (RANGE) program in areas with interest from personnel and a need for additional mental health care for rural veterans.
- Also requires GAO study and report on VA’s resources for rural veterans needing mental healthcare.