VETERANS' COMPENSATION COST-OF-LIVING ADJUSTMENT ACT OF 2006 -- (House of Representatives - September 29, 2006)
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Ms. BERKLEY. Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank Chairman Buyer, Ranking Member Evans, and our Subcommittee Chairman Miller, as well as Senator Craig and Senator Akaka on the Senate side, for moving forward on this bill. Passage of this legislation will assure most of the men and women currently receiving benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) receive a well-deserved increase in benefits as of January 1, 2007.
We should never allow the compensation received by veterans, disabled in service to the Nation to erode in value as the cost of living rises. S. 2562, the Veterans' Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act of 2006, will help our service-disabled veterans and their survivors maintain the purchasing power of their benefits in 2007 by providing for an increase in benefits.
This bill will help most, but not all, VA beneficiaries maintain the value of their benefits. Once again, I am disappointed that the bill does not include funding to allow our widows, widowers and their children to receive a cost-of-living adjustment for their supplemental transitional benefits as provided in the House passed bill. 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 erode in value in 2006.
Mr. Speaker, if we can find millions to maintain the tax cuts provided to our wealthiest citizens, surely we can find an additional five or ten dollars a month to maintain the transitional benefit paid to our surviving spouses with children at its current purchasing power. Our Gold Star Wives, husbands whose wives have perished in our current conflict and their children deserve better.
No amount of money can adequately compensate our veterans for the loss 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 2005, over 29,000 veterans in Nevada received disability compensation or pension payments from VA and thousands of Nevada family members 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 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. 2562 will receive my full support and it deserves the support of all Members of this House.
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The Senate bill was ordered to be read a third time, was read the third time, and passed, and a motion to reconsider was laid on the table.