Veterans Sexual Assault Prevention and Health Care Enhancement Act

Floor Speech

By:  John Carter
Date: Oct. 11, 2011
Location: Washington, DC

Mr. CARTER. I thank the chairman for yielding.

I want to thank the chairman and chairwoman for adopting H.R. 2074 to include H.R. 1154, the Veterans Equal Treatment for Service Dogs--the vet dogs--bill.

This ensures that veterans with service dogs have equal access to VA facilities. It amends title 38 of the U.S.C. to ensure that the VA allows medical service dogs in addition to seeing eye and guide dogs in VA facilities. This is sort of a no-brainer. A medical service dog's usage has been expanded to deal with all types of brain injury, hearing loss, seizures, vets who have lost limbs--for assistance mobility--and there are many other important areas in which these service dogs are making our veterans better.

Both the ADA and the Rehabilitation Act support this bill. The VA issued a directive recently to allow service dogs into their facilities, a directive good for 5 years. I applaud the VA in that effort, but this bill makes this directive permanent.

This is important for these veterans. If you see them with their dogs, you'll know that the friendship and the love and the affection and assistance that these dogs provide is invaluable to our injured veterans.

Harry Truman once made the statement, If you want a friend in Washington, D.C., get a dog. I am just trying to make sure by this bill--and we are trying to make sure--that our veterans don't have to leave their friends outside the door.

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