House Approves Three Veterans’ Health Bills
The House yesterday approved three veterans' health bills, the Associated Press reports. The bills are as follows:
- The Homeless Veterans' Assistance Act (HR 2716), sponsored by House Veterans Affairs Committee Chair Chris Smith (R-N.J.), would spend $1 billion to provide homeless veterans with medical and mental health services, substance abuse treatment and job training. It also authorizes an additional 2,000 low-income housing vouchers that give priority to veterans receiving care for mental illness or substance abuse. It has passed the Senate and now moves on to President Bush.
- The Veterans Benefits Act of 2001 (HR 2540), also sponsored by Smith, would grant a 2.6% cost-of-living increase to disabled veterans and their survivors. It also has passed in the Senate.
- The 21st Century Montgomery GI Bill Enhancement Act (HR 1291), also sponsored by Smith, would remove the 30-year period during which respiratory cancers can be linked to exposure to herbicides such as Agent Orange; add type-2 diabetes to the list of diseases "presumed to be service-connected" in Vietnam veterans exposed to herbicides; and expand the list of undiagnosed illnesses for which Persian Gulf War veterans would be eligible for disability compensation to include fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome and chronic multisymptom illness. It has not yet received Senate approval
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