VETERANS' COMPENSATION COST-OF-LIVING ADJUSTMENT ACT OF 2009 -- (House of Representatives - June 23, 2009)
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Mr. FILNER. Mr. Speaker, this is the last week before the July 4 break, and we have a series of bills to suitably commemorate July 4 with bills that will really aid our veterans who have made July 4 possible.
I rise in support of the Veterans' Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act of 2009, S. 407, which is a companion to the House bill, H.R. 1533, which was introduced by one of our new members on the Committee on Veterans' Affairs and sure to be one of our body's most productive members, Mrs. Kirkpatrick of Arizona. I thank the gentlelady for her leadership on this important bill.
The House leadership demonstrated its commitment to our Nation's veterans, their families, and their survivors by getting this bill to the floor, after reporting from the Committee on Veterans' Affairs, and by getting this companion bill, sponsored by Senator Akaka, to the floor shortly after receipt in the House.
As it has done every year since 1976, Congress, with the passage of this measure, directs the Secretary of Veterans' Affairs to increase the rates of basic compensation for disabled veterans and the rates of dependency and indemnity compensation, DIC, to their survivors and dependents along with other benefits in order to keep pace with the rising cost of living.
This disability COLA would become effective on December 1 of this year and will be equal to that provided on an annual basis to Social Security recipients. Last year, the COLA was set at 5.8 percent, an increase we all agree was direly needed, as the financial crush of the recession closed in on many of our disabled veterans' households.
While it is likely to be a lesser percentage of an increase this year, the measure will now move to the President's desk for his signature. Enactment ensures that veterans get a matching increase to the Social Security COLA on that date.
Mr. Speaker, this bill will benefit each of the nearly 3 million disabled veterans and their survivors, whether they are from the World War I era through the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
We would be derelict in our duty if we failed to guarantee that those who sacrificed so much for this country receive benefits and services that keep pace with their needs. We fund the war; let's make sure that we fund the warrior and his or her families and their survivors.
I urge my colleagues to support passage of the Veterans' Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act, S. 407, without delay.
I reserve the balance of my time.
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