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 April 23, 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. 6322Student Veteran Coronavirus Response Act of 2020 Would continue educational subsistence pay for education suspended due to an emergency. (Rep. Mark Takano) Passed Senate by unanimous consent, 4/22/2020.
  • H.R. 6492Ensuring HOMES Act To postone mortgage payments during the COVID-19 emergency. (Rep. Bobby L. Rush) Committee on Financial Services, 4/14/2020.
  • H.R. 6515(Rent and mortgage holiday) To suspend rent and mortgage payments during the COVID-19 emergency. (Rep. Ilhan Omar) Committee on Financial Services, 4/17/2020.
  • H.R. 6552(Prohibit water shutoffs) To prohibit water shutoffs during the COVID-19 emergency and, provide drinking and waste water assistance to households. (Rep. Rashida Tlaib) Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment Committee, 4/20/2020.
  • 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. 6591(Veterans timely healthcare) To ensureveterans receive timely and effective healthcare during the COVID-19 emergency. (Rep. Chris Pappas) Referred to the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, 4/21/2020.

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. 1988Homeless Veteran Families Act To ensure that children of homeless veterans are included in the calculation of the amounts of certain per diem grants. (Rep. Scott, David) Placed on Senate calendar, 7/10/2019.
  • 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) Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, 3/10/2020.
  • 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) Passed Senate by unanimous consent, 1/16/2020.
  • IL HB 4903  Veterans Bill of Rights Act To improve veterans’ access to healthcare, business loans, and suicide and homelessnes prevention. (Rep. Joyce Mason) Veterans’ Affairs Committee, 3/12/2020.
  • IL HB 5568Veteran Assistance Hotline To create hotline to connect veterans to needed services. (Rep. Lindsey LaPointe) Rules Committee, 2/18/2020.
  • IL SB 2293 Veteran Home Admission Extends addmission to Veterans homes to National Guard or Reserve with 20 years of satisfactory service (Sen. Jil Tracy) Referred to Assignments, 10/29/2020.
  • 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) Commerce and Economic Development, 1/22/2020.
  • 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. 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. 3036Breaking Barriers for Women Veterans Act To correct environmental, structural, and staff deficiencies to ensure VA delivery of high-quality health care to women veterans. (Rep. Max Rose) Subcommittee on Health, 6/13/2019.
  • 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) Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, 3/12/2020.
  • 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. 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, 1/16/2020.
  • IL HB 4624  Veteran Suggestion Box Requires veterans homes and service officse to have a locked suggestion box. (Rep. Stephanie A. Kifowit) Veterans’ Affairs Committee, 3/3/2020.
  • 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.

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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