Policy Tracker

Legislation and trends affecting veterans and military service members.

We track legislative initiatives and trends of interest to active and returning service members in Illinois, their families, the organizations that serve them, and those who advocate for the under-served, including families of the fallen and survivors of military sexual trauma. The status listings below reflect the most recent information available as of August 13, 2020. Non-COVID legislation is grouped under the broad categories of
Benefits and Services, Healthcare, and MST.


COVID 19 – A number of measures aimed at protecting veterans, service members and their families have been introduced in response to the national emergency.

  • H.R. 6212 (Continuation of VA educational benefits) Provide for VA educational assistance benefits during emergency situations. (Rep.Mark Takano ) Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity, 7/13/2020.
  • H.R. 6322Student Veteran Coronavirus Response Act of 2020 Would continue educational subsistence pay for education suspended due to an emergency. (Rep. Mark Takano) Public Law 116-140, 4/28/2020.
  • H.R. 6553(Boost Communities Program) Would create a program to provide monthly payments to consumers during the COVID-19 emergency.   (Rep. Rashida Tlaib) Ways & Means, Financial Services Committees, 4/17/2020.
  • H.R. 6860Aid and Attendance Support Act Would increase the amount of certain VA payments during the emergency period. (Rep. Colin Z. Allred) Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, 5/14/2020.
  • S. 3713Support Our National Guard Act Requires National Guard members returning from full-time duty in support of the government pandemic response to receive transitional health benefits. (Sen. Joe Manchin) Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, 5/13/2020.
  • S. 3724No Coronavirus Copays for Veterans Act Prohibits the VA from requiring a co-payment or other cost sharing for qualifying preventive services related to COVID-19. (Sen. Tammy Duckworth) Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, 5/13/2020.

BENEFITS AND SERVICES – Veterans and service members can be eligible for a number of benefits related to their service and public benefits that assist them and their families in achieving their highest levels of health and economic security.

  • H.R. 1911SFC Brian Woods Gold Star and Military Survivors Act To expand survivors’ benefits for spouses and children of service members who die in the line of duty. (Rep. Michael Waltz) Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs, 10/22/2019.
  • H.R. 4803 Citizenship for Children of Military Members and Civil Servants Act To facilitate automatic acquisition of citizenship for children of U.S. personnel residing abroad. (Rep. Jerrold Nadler) Public Law 116-136, 3/26/2020.
  • H.R. 5045 Veteran Employment and Child Care Access Act of 2019 To require the VS to provide child care assistance to veterans receiving training or vocational rehabilitation. (Rep. J. Luis Correa) Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity, 12/2/2019.
  • H.R. 6168Veterans’ Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act of 2020 To increase veterans’ disability compensation and clothing allowance. (Rep. Elaine G. Luria) Passed the House, 5/28/2020.
  • H.R. 7563 GI Internship Program Act Would allow to use their VA Post-9/11 educational assistanceto to participate in a career transition internship. (Rep. Bradley Scott Schneider) Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, 7/3/2020.
  • H.R. 866Veteran Treatment Court Coordination Act of 2019 To provide grants and technical assistance for state, local, and tribal governments for veterans treatment courts. (Rep. Charlie Crist) Public Law 116-30, 7/25/2020.
  • IL HB 4903  Veterans Bill of Rights Act To improve veterans’ access to healthcare, business loans, and suicide and homelessnes prevention. (Rep. Joyce Mason) Re-referred to Rules Committee, 6/23/2020.
  • IL HB 5568Veteran Assistance Hotline To create hotline to connect veterans to needed services. (Rep. Lindsey LaPointe) Rules Committee, 2/18/2020.
  • IL SB 1937Higher Education Veterans Service Act Requires public colleges and universities to use best efforts to hire a veteran as the coordinator of student services for veterans and military personnel. (Sen. Kimberly Lightford ) Public Act 101-0646, 6/26/2020.
  • IL SB 2293 Veteran Home Admission Extends addmission to Veterans homes to National Guard or Reserve with 20 years of satisfactory service (Sen. Jil Tracy) Assignments Committee, 6/24/2020.
  • IL SB 2306 DCEO Office of Inclusion To create an Office of Inclusion in the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. (Sen. Kimberly A. Lightford) Assignments Committee, 4/12/2020.
  • S. 153Supporting Veterans in STEM Careers Act Directs the NSF to encourage veterans to study and pursue careers in STEM and computer science. (Sen. Marco Rubio) Public Law 116-115, 2/11/2020.
  • S. 3378Reduce Unemployment for Veterans of All Ages Act of 2020 Would eliminate eligibility period for VA vocational rehabilitation services. (Sen. Kyrsten Sinema) Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, 3/3/2020.
  • S. 3393(Concurrent pay for veterans) To allow concurrent receipt of disability and retirement pay for disability retirees with less than 20 years service. (Sen. Jon Tester) Committee on Armed Services, 3/4/2020.
  • S. 4176(To expand eligibility for home loans) To expand eligibility for VA home loans to reserve members. (Sen. Thom Tillis) Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, 7/2/2020.
  • S. 760Support for Veterans in Effective Apprenticeships Act of 2019 To increase access by veterans and survivors/dependents to Department of Labor apprenticeship programs. (Sen. Gary Peters) Public Law 116-134, 3/26/2020.

HEALTHCARE – Both the VA healthcare system and the community healthcare system are responsible for providing effective, quality, and culturally competent healthcare services for veterans.

  • H.R. 1527Long-Term Care Veterans Choice Act To let veterans unable to live independently be placed in non-VA medical foster homes. (Rep. Clay Higgins) Subcommittee on Health, 9/11/2019.
  • H.R. 2645Newborn Care Improvement Act of 2019 To improve care provided by the VA to newborn children. (Rep. Clay Higgins) Subcommittee on Health, 9/11/2019.
  • H.R. 2816Vietnam-Era Veterans Hepatitis C Testing Enhancement Act of 2019 To require the VA to host outreach events with veterans’ organizations to expand hepatitis C (HCV) testing. (Rep. Elise M Stefanik) Subcommittee on Health, 9/11/2019.
  • H.R. 2982The Women Veterans Health Care Accountability Act To identify and remedy barriers women veterans face when trying to access VA health care. (Rep. Joe, Cunningham) Subcommittee on Health, 9/11/2019.
  • H.R. 3636Caring For Our Women Veterans Act To require the VA to report annually to Congress on gender-specific care available at VA facilities. (Rep. Lauren Underwood) Subcommittee on Health , 9/11/2019.
  • H.R. 5411Increasing Access to Mental Health Act of 2019 To direct HHS to establish a Task Force on Local Mental Health Needs. (Rep. Josh Harder) Committee on Energy and Commerce, 12/13/2019.
  • H.R. 5556 Women Veterans TRUST Act To direct the VA to conduct an analysis of the need for women-specific for veterans with drug and alcohol dependency. (Rep. Julia Brownley) Subcommittee on Health, 2/7/2020.
  • H.R. 6259Veteran Access to Direct Primary Care Act Would create a pilot program let veterans receive primary care from non-VA providers via an HSA. (Rep. Chip Roy) Subcommittee on Health, 7/13/2020.
  • H.R. 6259 Veteran Access to Direct Primary Care Act Calls for pilot program for veterans receive primary care from a non-VA provider under a direct service arrangement using veteran health savings account. (Rep. Chip Roy) Subcommittee on Health, 7/13/2020.
  • H.R. 6532 Affordable Care Act amendment Would create a special enrollment period during the COVID-19 emergency. (Rep. Lloyd Doggett) Committee on Energy and Commerce, 4/17/2020.
  • H.R. 7469Modernizing Veterans’ Healthcare Eligibility Act Would establish an advisory commission on eligibility for VA healthcare. (Rep. David P. Roe) Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, 7/1/2020.
  • H.R. 7541VA Zero Suicide Demonstration Project Act of 2020 To establish the Zero Suicide Initiative pilot program in the VA. (Rep. Susie Lee ) Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, 7/9/2020.
  • H.R. 96Veteran Dental Care Requires the VA to provide dental care for veterans in the same manner as medical services. (Rep. Julia Brownley) Subcommittee on Health hearings, 7/23/2020.
  • H.R.6906Health Care Emergency Guarantee Act Would rovide reimbursements for healthcare costs, including prescription drugs, furnished during the public health emergency. (Rep. Pramila Jayapal ) Subcommittee on Health, 7/13/2020.
  • IL HB 4624  Veteran Suggestion Box Requires veterans homes and service officse to have a locked suggestion box. (Rep. Stephanie A. Kifowit) Re-referred to Rules Committee, 6/23/2020.
  • IL SB 2293 Veterans Home Admissions Act Entitles veterans who served in the National Guard or Reserve Forces to admission to an Illinois Veterans Home. (Sen. Jil Tracy) Referred to Assignments, 10/29/2019.
  • S. 3182Helping Expand and Launch Transitional Health for Women Veterans Act Directs the VA to carry out the Women’s Health Transition Training pilot program through at least FY 2020. (Sen. Dan Sullivan) Placed on Senate calendar, 2/5/2020.
  • S. 785Commander John Scott Hannon Veterans Mental Health Care Improvement Act Calls for measures to improve the mental health care provided by the VA. (Sen. Jon Tester) Passed Senate with an amendment, 8/5/2020.
  • S. 3809Military Moms’ Mental Health Assessment Act Calls for a study by the US Comptroller General on prenatal and postpartum mental health among service members and dependents. (Sen. Richard Blumenthal) Committee on Armed Services, 5/21/2020.

MILITARY SEXUAL ASSAULT – Just like in civilian society, sexual assault is prevalent in the military and impacts men and women. It is important that our laws work to prevent military sexual trauma, protect survivors, and assist survivors in healing and achieving positive health outcomes.

  • H.R. 3867Violence Against Women Veterans Act To require the VA to improve services and benefits for veterans who experience domestic violence or sexual assault. (Rep. Nydia M. Velazquez) Subcommittee on Health, 9/11/2019.

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