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Mr. RUNYAN. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of H.R. 1627, as amended, ``The Honoring of America's Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012.''
There are several components to this legislation, and they are all aimed toward improving veterans' lives after their selfless sacrifice to our nation.
I would like to draw attention to the provisions that ensure the Veterans' benefits process is more efficient, accountable, and fair for all Veterans and their families.
Section 703 of H.R. 1627 addresses the minimalist approach the VA has adopted in complying with its employee skills certification mandate.
This provision would address disparities in experience and training, while facilitating the individual accountability of employees.
The VA would conduct testing procedures that indicate basic competency of all claims processors and managers.
Test results indicating less than satisfactory scores on the exam would necessitate an individualized remediation program to aid them in improving their areas of deficiency.
Repeated failure after remediation would require the VA to take necessary personnel actions.
Additionally, Section 504 implements the use of electronic communication within the VA in providing notices of responsibility to claimants.
It also removes administrative provisions which have slowed down the processing of Veteran's disability claims.
In total, this section would increase efficiency and help modernize the VA by authorizing the most effective means available for communication while simultaneously removing administrative red tape.
Lastly, another provision that would reduce the claims backlog is Section 505, which clarifies the meaning of the VA's duty to assist claimants in obtaining evidence needed to verify a claim.
As a result, this section establishes a clear and reasonable standard for private record requests as ``not less than two requests.''
In addition, this section will encourage claimants to take a proactive role in the claims process.
I would like to take the remaining time to commend and thank the Committee for working with me in addressing the concerns affiliated with Arlington National Cemetery.
As Chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs Subcommittee, DAMA, I am very pleased that our Committee continues to improve the ways in which we honor our veterans and preserve Arlington National Cemetery, ANC, as the sacred final resting place for those who have given the ultimate sacrifice in service to our country.
As a member of both the House Veterans Affairs and House Armed Services Committees, with a large veterans population and joint military installation in my home District, it has been an honor to join my colleagues in support of H.R. 1627, as amended, and to work in a bipartisan manner on behalf of veterans.
I would like to thank each of them for their tireless support on behalf of our veterans--the heroes who protect the freedoms we all enjoy. I know they share my commitment to ensuring that we take care of our veterans and military servicemembers.
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