This week, Congressman Jon Runyan sent a letter to the Senate Majority and Minority Leaders strongly urging passage of H.R. 4114, the Veterans' Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) Act of 2012. This legislation authored by Congressman Jon Runyan (R-NJ) would provide an increase in the amount of disability benefits provided to veterans equal to the COLA for Social Security Benefits. The bill was passed in the House of Representatives by voice vote on July 9, 2012, and is now being held up in the Senate.
Congressman Runyan sent the letter to Senate leadership in response to recent reports that a Member of the United States Senate or staff may have been blocking this important legislation through a "secret hold." The traditionally bi-partisan and non-controversial bill was not acted on before the Senate went into recess.
The Department of Veterans Affairs has stated that unless H.R. 4114 passes the Senate by November 13, 2012, they may be unable to ensure that the COLA increase would be included in January 2013 veterans benefits checks.
"My District has the highest number of veterans in the State and over the last 21 months, I have had the opportunity to speak with a large number of veterans throughout South Jersey and many were worried about the state of their yearly Cost-of-Living increase," said Congressman Runyan. "These benefits are vital for many veterans to purchase medication, pay bills, and eat. This is why I was honored that the House came together in a bi-partisan fashion to pass this legislation."
Runyan added, "It is time for the Senate to act on this important legislation for those who have protected the freedoms we all enjoy through their dedicated service to our country. I am hopeful that the Senate will bring my bill to the floor for a swift vote when they return in November. These brave men and women have sacrificed so much and we have a duty to see that they are taken care of."
Last year, S. 894, the Senate companion bill to Representative Runyan's legislation, H.R. 1407, the Veterans' Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act of 2011, was passed by both chambers of Congress with Congressman Runyan's leadership. It was signed into law on November 9, 2011. This was the first veterans COLA increase since 2009.
Congressman Runyan is a member of the House Armed Services Committee, House Veterans Affairs Committee, and the Natural Resources Committee. He also serves as the Chairman of the Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs (DAMA).