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Public Statements

Issue Position: Veterans

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America's veterans have clearly earned our nation's respect and I believe all Americans owe them a debt of gratitude. I am dedicated to providing the best healthcare, benefits, and memorial services needs for all United States veterans.

Veterans' Issues in the 110th Congress:

PROTECTING VETERANS' BENEFITS

Increased funding for veterans' healthcare ensures that veterans receive the medical care they have earned and deserve. H.R. 140 will require the amounts reimbursed to institutional providers of health care services under the TRICARE program to be the same as amounts reimbursed under Medicare.

BACKING OUR NATIONAL GUARD AND RESERVISTS

The Guard and Reserve GI Bill Eligibility Extension will give our nation's veterans the time they need to receive their education. H.R. 1330 extends the period of eligibility for members of the National Guard and Reserves to utilize GI Bill benefitsfrom two years to ten.

SUPPORTING ACTIVE DUTY MILITARY FAMILIES

The Military Access to Housing Act of 2007 will meet the responsibility to our military men and women.

H.R. 1481 amends the current federal tax code regarding members of the military and the taxes paid for their basic housing allowance, and will provide resources we can to ensure quality and affordable housing that will accommodate servicemembers and their families during their service to our country.

Veterans Legislation co-sponsored by Congressman Keith Ellison

Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day

H.RES.189expresses the sense of the House of Representatives that there should be established a "Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day" to honor those members of the U.S. Armed Forces who served in Vietnam.
Commemorating the 25th anniversary of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial

H.RES.326 honors the sacrifice of the men and women who lost their lives in service of the United States during the Vietnam War and recognizes the service of all men and women who were members of the Armed Forces during the Vietnam War.

Veterans Outreach Improvement Act of 2007

H.R. 67directs the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to establish, maintain, and modify as necessary procedures for ensuring the effective coordination of outreach activities of the Department of Veterans Affairs between and among the Office of the Secretary, the Office of Public Affairs, the Veterans Health Administration, the Veterans Benefits Administration, and the National Cemetery Administration.

Joshua Omvig Veterans Suicide Prevention Act

H.R. 327directs the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to develop and implement a comprehensive program designed to reduce the incidence of suicide among veterans.

Honor Our Commitment to Veterans Act

H.R.463 directs the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to administer the health care enrollment system of the Department of Veterans Affairs so as to enroll any eligible veteran who applies. (This directive in effect terminates an administrative freeze on the enrollment of veterans in the lowest priority enrollment category referred to as "Priority 8").
Returning Servicemember VA Healthcare Insurance Act of 2007

H.R. 612 extends, for veterans who served in a theater of combat operations during a period of war after the Persian Gulf War or during a period of hostilities after November 11, 1998, from two to five years the period of eligibility for hospital care, medical services, or nursing home care provided by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs following their discharge or release.

Keep the A-12 Blackbird Spy Plane in Minnesota Act

H.R. 812 directs the Secretary of the Air Force to immediately transfer all ownership and interest of the A-12 Blackbird aircraft spy plane,with tail number 60-6931, that was and on display with the 133rd Airlift Wing at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, Minnesota, and on loan from National Museum of the United States Air Force, to the Minnesota Air National Guard Historical Foundation.

Resuming Education After Defense Service Act of 2007

H.R. 1211provides entitlement to basic educational assistance under the Montgomery GI Bill a member of the Selected Reserve who (among other qualifications), during the period beginning on September 11, 2001, and ending on December 31, 2008, serves on active duty in the Armed Forces for one or more periods aggregating not less than two years.

Keep Our Promise to America's Military Retirees Act

H.R. 1222 restores health care coverage to retired members of the uniformed services, and directs the Secretary of Defense to enter into an agreement with the Office of Personnel Management to provide Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) coverage to the eligible beneficiaries.
Military Readiness Enhancement Act of 2007

H.R.1246 prohibits the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of Homeland Security, with respect to the Coast Guard when it is not operating as a service in the Navy, from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation against any member of the Armed Forces or any person seeking to become a member.

Charles W. Lindberg Department of Veterans Affairs Outpatient Clinic

H.R. 1253 designates the Department of Veterans Affairs Outpatient Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, as the "Charles W. Lindberg Department of Veterans Affairs Outpatient Clinic".

Dignity for Wounded Warriors Act of 2007

H.R. 1268 ensures dignity in care for members of the Armed Forces recovering from injuries and requires each recovering servicemember who is assigned to a military barracks or dormitory to be assigned to one that is maintained at the highest service standard in effect for enlisted members of the Armed Forces.

Coming Together for Guard and Reserve Families Act

H.R.1541 provides support and assistance for families of members of the National Guard and Reserve who are undergoing deployment and requires such support to include post-deployment assistance for spouses and parents of returning servicemembers.

A Home for the Brave Act

H.R. 1960 amends the Community Reinvestment Act of 1977 to allow community reinvestment credit for investments and other financial support to enable veterans to purchase residential homes or to assist organizations with the establishment of housing opportunities and assisted living facilities for veterans.

Rural Veterans Health Care Improvement Act of 2007

H.R. 2005 improves health care for veterans who live in rural areas, and authorizes the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to pay travel expenses for veterans receiving treatment at Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) facilities at the rate provided to federal employees.

Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program Act of 2007

H.R. 2090 directs the Secretary of Defense to establish a national combat veteran reintegration program to provide National Guard members, their families and community members with information, services, referral, and outreach opportunities throughout the entire deployment cycle.
Sgt. Jonathan Schulze Military Health Services Improvement Act of 2007

H.R. 2189 requires pre- and post-deployment mental health screenings for members of the Armed Forces and raises awareness about mental health issues that members may encounter during war.

Department of Veterans Affairs Office of the Ombudsman

H.R. 2192establishes in the Department of Veterans Affairs an Office of the Ombudsman to act as a liaison for veterans and their families with respect to the receipt of VA healthcare and benefits.

Traumatic Brain Injury Health Enhancement and Long-Term Support Act of 2007

H.R. 2199 directs the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to provide certain improvements in treatment of individuals with traumatic brain injuries.

Veterans Suicide Prevention Hotline Act of 2007

H.R.2219 directs the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to award a grant of not more than three years in duration to an eligible entity to establish, publicize, and operate a national toll-free telephone number to serve as a suicide prevention hotline targeted to and staffed predominately by veterans.

Disabled Veterans Tax Fairness Act of 2007

H.R. 2234 amends the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide for an extension of the period of limitation to file claims for refunds on account of disability determinations by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Early Access to Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Benefits Act

H.R. 2239 entitles to veterans vocational rehabilitation benefits any member of the Armed Forces hospitalized or receiving outpatient medical care, services, or treatment who is: (1) determined to have a permanent total disability incurred or aggravated in the line of duty; and (2) likely to be discharged or released from active service for such disability.

Assured Funding for Veterans Health Care Act

H.R.2514 provides for an assured adequate level of funding for veterans health care.

Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2007

H.R.2702 establishes a program of educational assistance for members of the Armed Forces who serve in the Armed Forces after September 11, 2001.

Department of Veterans Affairs Epilepsy Centers of Excellence

H.R.2818 provides for the establishment of Epilepsy Centers of Excellence in the Veterans Health Administration of the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Veterans Education Tuition Support (VETS) Act of 2007

H.R. 2910 amends the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act to provide for reimbursement to members of the Armed Forces of tuition for programs of education delayed by military service, and for deferment of students' loans and reduced interest rates for members of the Armed Forces during periods of military service.

Heroes at Home Act of 2007

H.R.3051improves the diagnosis and treatment of traumatic brain injury in members and former members of the Armed Forces and reviews and expands telehealth and telemental health programs of the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Reservist Access to Justice Act of 2007

H.R. 3393 improves veterans' reemployment rights to exempt claims from arbitration.

Hire a Hero Act

H.R. 3429 authorizes a competitive grant program to assist members of the National Guard and Reserve and former and current members of the Armed Forces in securing employment in the private sector.


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