The following information is for military personnel and veterans. Please contact our office for assistance if you have any questions or require further assistance.
Veterans Legislation Passed in the 115th Congress
* The following information is sourced from the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs.
H.R. 3819, introduced by Rep. Brian Mast, would extend a number of expiring authorities impacting veterans’ benefits, health care, and homeless programs, including nursing home care, support services for caregivers, transportation, child care assistance, adaptive sports programs and housing and home loan services. Click here for more information. Read the bill here.
The Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017, introduced by Rep. Phil Roe, would remove time restrictions to use the GI Bill, enabling future eligible recipients to use their GI bill benefits for their entire lives, as opposed to the current 15-year timeline. Click here for more information. Read the bill here.
The Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act of 2017, introduced by Reps. Mike Bost and Elizabeth Esty, would modernize the appeals process at the Department of Veterans Affairs. Click here for more information. Read the bill here.
The HIRE Vets Act, introduced by Rep. Paul Cook, as amended, would require the Department of Labor to establish a HIRE Vets Medallion Program to recognize companies for their efforts to employ veterans. Click here for more information. Read the bill here.
The Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017 would create a new streamlined and efficient process to remove, demote or suspend any VA employee for poor performance or misconduct with a concrete shortened timeline, while still protecting employees’ due process rights, and would provide them with the right to appeal the action. It would also provide expanded protections for whistleblowers and would specifically bar VA from using this removal authority if the employee has an open whistleblower complaint/case with the Office of Special Counsel. Click here for more information. Read the bill here.
S. 114 would provide $2 billion to continue the Choice Program for six months while Congress works on other reforms to the Choice Program. It would also authorize 28 major medical facility leases and enhance the recruitment, retention and training of the VA workforce. Click here for more information. Read the bill here.
Senate companion to H.R. 369: Eliminating the Sunset Date of the Choice Act
The Eliminating the Sunset Date of the Choice Act, introduced by Chairman Phil Roe, M.D., would eliminate the statutory sunset date for the Choice Program and instead allow the program to continue until the original funding has been expended. Click here for more information. Read the bill here.
- Military OneSource — Information includes: deployment, reunion, relationships, grief, spouse employment and education, parenting and childhood services.
- Tax Information for Members of the U.S. Armed Forces
- TRICARE — The military's health care program.
- U.S. Armed Forces websites:
- U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) — lists offices, by state, as well as information and resources on the following topics:
- How can I contact the Department of Veterans Affairs?
- How can I get education benefits under the Montgomery GI Bill?
- How can I get medical benefits?
- How can I get information on suicide prevention?
- How can I get a home loan?
- How can I get life insurance?
- How can I get vocational rehabilitation and employment benefits?
- How can I get survivor benefits?
- What drug benefits are available?
- How can I get a copy of my military records?
- How can I apply for a medal, award, or decoration that I earned while in the service?
- Where can I get more information on federal benefits for veterans?
- Where can I get more information on my state's benefits for veterans?
- Would you like to apply for veterans benefits? Use VONAPP to apply online.
- Would you like to appeal a decision? Find out how at the Board of Veterans Appeals.
For more information concerning work and views related to Veterans issues, please contact our office.
More on Veterans
I am pleased to inform you that starting this Veterans Day on Nov. 11, and lasting indefinitely, the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) has granted military veterans and Gold Star families free access to national parks and wildlife refuges, as well as lands and waters managed by the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Our freedom isn’t free. It is fought for and earned by our veterans, and we owe each of them our thanks. This year on Veteran’s Day, I encourage you to take time and thank the veterans in your life for their service to America. I'm honored to have several family members who have served, including my grandfather, Andrew Westerman, who fought in World War II. My father-in-law Clayton French and my brother-in-law Clayton (Chuck) French also both served in the Air Force, and Chuck actually wrote commentary that served as the inspiration for The Airman's Creed.
We are blessed to live in a free country, but that freedom doesn’t come without a price. Every year, Memorial Day is an opportunity for us to remember our fallen heroes and reflect on all that they sacrificed for our country. While many of us can’t gather in person this year, that shouldn’t stop us from taking time to honor the men and women who gave their lives for our freedom.
With all eyes focused on COVID-19 relief efforts, it’s easy to lose sight of others in our health care system, those with chronic illnesses or underlying medical issues. One particular group in need of assistance is veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange during the Vietnam War and are suffering from severe illnesses as a result. Even as we seek to repair the flaws in our medical system and protect Americans against the spread of COVID-19, we must not forget about the men and women who served our country and yet can’t get the benefits they need.
Former President Ronald Reagan once said, "Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We did not pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free." This Veterans Day week, we get to honor the men and women who have fought to protect these freedoms.
Late in the evening on June 25, President Trump signed the Blue Water Navy Act into law. This bill represents the bipartisan efforts of veterans, advocacy groups, Congress and the administration to give Vietnam-era veterans the VA benefits they need.
WASHINGTON – Late Tuesday night, President Donald Trump signed the Blue Water Navy Act into law. U.S. Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) issued the following statement in response:
I’m honored to represent many incredible men and women in uniform, both active-duty and retired. They and their families have made countless sacrifices during training and deployments. However, our nation’s veterans are not always aware of the treatments available if they’re facing facing mental health issues because of their service.
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) introduced the Keeping Our Promises Act, a bill that would add nine medical conditions recognized by the National Academy of Medicine (NAM) as having evidence of exposure to certain herbicides used by the Armed Forces during the Vietnam War. U.S. Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Penn.), Scott Tipton (R-Colo.), Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), Joe Cunningham (D-S.C.), Brendan Boyle (D-Penn.), Mike Thompson (D-Calif.) and Ann Kuster (D-N.H.) joined the bill as cosponsors.
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.), U.S. Sens. John Boozman and Tom Cotton and U.S. Reps. Rick Crawford, French Hill and Steve Womack introduced legislation to transfer nearly 140 acres of land at Camp Robinson to the Arkansas Department of Veterans Affairs (ADVA). The land conveyance will facilitate expansion of the Arkansas State Veterans Cemetery in North Little Rock.