Unanimous Senate Vote Tells VA to Use Texas Model to Speed Processing
This morning we share especially good news for our Veterans and families: On November 29, Senators voted unanimously to order Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) to produce a plan to end the delays processing Veterans’ disability compensation claims. Too many veterans have suffered too long through VBA’s delays and denials.
Here is how this important development unfolded in the past two months. On September 21, under harsh questioning by Representatives, VBA testified before the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee hearing that there is no public, comprehensive plan to end the lengthy delays Veterans face when seeking VBA disability benefits.
In response to the September hearing, Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) introduced legislation on November 28 to tap the expertise of state agencies such as the Texas Veterans Commission (TVS), to help VBA process claims properly and in a timely manner. TVC testified at the House hearing in September about their success assisting a beleaguered VBA in Texas. Here is the proposed text by Senator Cornyn as an amendment to S 3254, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2013. The amendment mandates cooperation by the Federal Government, State Government, and other groups in an effort to end this growing crisis harming so many Veterans and families.
Because VBA has never had a plan to improve speed and accuracy, Senator Cornyn, and now the entire U.S. Senate, is demanding VBA produce one. For too long, VBA makes promises to Veterans and then VBA doesn’t keep them. Now, hopefully, there might be some accountability for VBA’s string of constant failures.
When the full NDAA, commonly called the Defense Bill, is finally approved by Senators, the legislation will go to conference with the House. Since the Cornyn Amendment enjoys rare and unanimous bi-partisan support, the measure should be agreed upon by Representatives. Once both the House and Senate approved the final and identical NDAA, the bill goes to President Barack Obama for signature.
Thank you Senator Cornyn. Let’s hope VBA gets the message: Fix VA.