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Public Statements

Veterans' Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act of 2005

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC


VETERANS' COMPENSATION COST-OF-LIVING ADJUSTMENT ACT OF 2005 -- (House of Representatives - November 16, 2005)

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Ms. BERKLEY. Mr. Speaker, further reserving the right to object, I would like to thank Chairman Buyer, Ranking Member Evans and Subcommittee Chairman Miller, as well as Senator Craig and Senator Akaka for moving forward on this bill.

As a result of their cooperation, the men and women currently receiving benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs will receive a well-deserved increase in benefits as of January 1, 2006.

We must not allow the compensation received by veterans, disabled in service to our Nation, to erode in value as the cost of living rises. S. 1234, the Veterans' Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act of 2005, will help our service-disabled veterans and their survivors maintain the purchasing power of their benefits in 2006 by providing a 4.1 percent increase in benefits.

Single veterans rated at 100 percent disabled will see their benefits rise from $2,299 a month to $2,393 a month. Veterans who are married or have other dependents will see their benefits increased proportionately. This bill will help VA beneficiaries maintain the value of their benefits.

No amount of money can adequately compensate our veterans for the deterioration of their health or families for the loss of a loved one. It is important that the benefits, which our Nation provides to partially compensate for such losses, do not lose their value over time.

In 2004, over 28,000 veterans in Nevada received disability compensation or pension payments from the VA, and thousands of Nevada families and survivors receive VA cash benefits. The action we are taking here today will help the Nevada veterans and families who depend on these VA benefits.

I am very disappointed that the bill does not contain a provision approved by the House earlier this year to include the transitional DIC benefit in the COLA. As a result, the value of the $250 transitional benefit paid to surviving spouses with minor children for their first 2 years of eligibility will unfortunately erode in value in 2006.

Unfortunately, our widows and orphans are going to have to survive on a stagnant benefit. Our Gold Star Wives, the spouses of veterans who have perished in our current conflict, and their children certainly deserve better than this.

I understand the urgency of passing this COLA so that veterans and their dependents will receive a timely increase in VA benefits. I hope that before this Congress recesses for the year, the increase in DIC benefits and other provisions passed by the House and Senate can be enacted into law. Those who have served this Nation deserve no less.

S. 1234 will receive my full support, and it deserves the support of all Members of this House.

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Ms. BERKLEY. Mr. Speaker, I withdraw my reservation of objection.

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