Isakson Applauds Passage of Bill to Authorize VA Programs

Bill will ensure veterans continue receiving health care, benefits, protect GI Bill users from potential loss of benefits

WASHINGTON – (RealEstateRama) — U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, today released the following statement on the Senate passage of the Department of Veterans Affairs Expiring Authorities Act of 2016 (H.R.5985):

Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs

“As members of Congress, our job is to make sure that veterans get the care and benefits they deserve,” said Isakson. “This crucial bill will ensure that vital Department of Veterans Affairs services, such as programs to help homeless veterans, continue into the new fiscal year. It will also protect certain veterans using Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits who may lose those benefits if their school loses its accreditation. This bill keeps our promise to our veterans, and I look forward to seeing it signed into law.”

The Department of Veterans Affairs Expiring Authorities Act of 2016 authorizes VA’s services for the next fiscal year and ensures that the VA’s homeless programs and adaptive sports programs do not shut down. It also includes a provision that would allow the VA to protect veterans using VA education benefits if the Secretary of Education withdraws recognition of the agency that accredited a veteran’s school.

The Senate approved the Department of Veterans Affairs Expiring Authorities Act of 2016 by a vote of 89-0. The House previously passed H.R.5985 on September 13, 2016, and the bill will now go to the president’s desk for his signature.

Watch Isakson’s floor remarks on the Department of Veterans Affairs Expiring Authorities Act of 2016 here.

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The Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs is chaired by U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., in the 114th Congress.

Isakson is a veteran himself – having served in the Georgia Air National Guard from 1966-1972 – and has been a member of the Senate VA Committee since he joined the Senate in 2005. Isakson’s home state of Georgia is home to more than a dozen military installations representing each branch of the military as well as more than 750,000 veterans.

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Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs

The Veterans' Affairs committee was created in 1970 to transfer responsibilities for veterans from the Finance and Labor committees to a single panel. From 1947 to 1970, matters relating to veterans compensation and veterans generally were referred to the Committee on Finance, while matters relating to the vocational rehabilitation, education, medical care, civil relief, and civilian readjustment of veterans were referred to the Committee on Labor and Public Welfare.

Congressional legislation affecting veterans changed over the years. For the members of the armed forces and their families in the nation's early wars -- the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Mexican War, the Civil War and the Spanish-American War -- the response of the federal government had been essentially financial. This was clearly the legislative mission of the Senate Committee on Pensions which was created as one of the Senate's original standing committees in 1816 and continued until its termination in the Legislative Reorganization Act of 1946.

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