DONNELLY VOTES FOR THE VETERANS' HEALTHCARE IMPROVEMENT ACT OF 2007
H.R. 2874 would Improve Mental Health Services for Veterans Returning from Iraq and Afghanistan; Increase Access for Rural Veterans
Washington, D.C. - Yesterday, the House passed H.R. 2874, The Veterans Healthcare Improvement Act of 2007 by voice vote. This legislation was introduced by Rep. Michael Michaud (D-ME), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Health of the House Veterans' Affairs Committee. H.R. 2874 would provide peer outreach and peer support services, and readjustment and mental health services and support for veterans returning from Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.
"As a member of the Veterans' Affairs Committee, I was pleased to help Congressman Michaud move this bill through committee and through the House," Donnelly said. "The conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan pose new, unforeseen challenges for our military and veterans' healthcare systems. The Government Accountability Office has estimated that a third of service members returning from Iraq and Afghanistan will face mental health challenges. This bill would establish grant programs that would expand mental health services to veterans to aid in their readjustment to civilian life."
The bill would also establish a grant program to provide innovative transportation options to rural veterans.
"I've heard from veterans in places like Winamac and Knox that the cost of transportation to attend appointments at VA facilities can make it difficult for them to receive the care that they need, making it even more challenging to stay healthy." Donnelly said. "Providing additional transportation options is one small way we can show our vets our gratitude for their service to the country."
Now that the bill has passed the House, it must be approved by the Senate. If passed by the Senate, a conference committee will be convened between members of the House and the Senate. This conference committee will produce a final version of the legislation which will be sent back to both legislative bodies. If the final version is approved by both the House and the Senate, it will be sent to the President for his signature.