In Celebration of Our Nation's Freedom, Crowley Cheers House Passage of Veterans' Cost of Living Boost, Increase in Veteran Women's Health Programs

Jun 24, 2009

(Washington, D.C.) – In honor of our nation’s veterans this Independence Day, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a series of veterans’ bills last night, including a much needed Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) for veterans’ compensation benefits.  Congressman Joseph Crowley (D-Bronx, Queens) cheered several key initiatives in addition to the COLA, particularly an improvement in health services available for women veterans, an expansion of scholarship resources available to veterans and advanced funding for veterans’ health care.

“The Democratic-led Congress is committed to providing our nation’s veterans with the services and support they need,” said Congressman Crowley.  “The veterans’ legislative package passed by the House will improve the compensation benefits for veterans during this difficult economic downturn and enhance the health care services provided to the growing number of women veterans.  I was proud to support these key initiatives and look forward to working with veterans from across the Bronx and Queens to continue to improve the services our nation provides to the men and women of the armed forces who have sacrificed on our nation’s behalf.”

The following bills were included in the July 4th veterans’ legislative package:

S. 407 - Veterans' Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act of 2009

Directs the Secretary of Veterans Affairs (VA) to increase, as of December 1, 2009, the rates of veterans' disability compensation, additional compensation for dependents, the clothing allowance for certain disabled adult children, and dependency and indemnity compensation for surviving spouses and children. 

H.R. 1211 - Women Veterans Health Care Improvement Act will expand and improve VA health care services for the 1.8 million women who have bravely served their country.  It calls for: 

  • a study of barriers to women veterans seeking health care,
  • assessment of women’s health care programs,
  • medical care for newborn children of women veterans,
  • enhancement of VA sexual trauma programs,
  • enhancement of PTSD treatment for women,
  • establishment of a pilot program for child care services, and
  • the addition of recently separated women veterans to serve on advisory committees.

H.R. 1016 - Veterans Health Care Budget Reform and Transparency Act of 2009

Authorizes Congress to approve investments in Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical care one year in advance to provide time for the VA to plan how to deliver the best care to an increasing number of veterans with increasingly complex medical conditions. 

H.R. 1172 - To direct the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to include on the Internet website of the Department of Veterans Affairs a list of organizations that provide scholarships to veterans and their survivors

The Veterans' Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act of 2009 now goes to President Obama to be enacted into law and the other three bills go to the Senate for consideration.  Congressman Crowley is a strong advocate for veterans programs and recently hosted a roundtable with local veterans to highlight the need for increased benefits for Bronx and Queens veterans.