Over the past year ROA has worked extensively with the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee (HVAC) and had the opportunity to submit testimony multiple times. Some of the issues built into testimony included Veteran Status, employment, health related-issues affecting rural veterans, and other Reserve Component-specific matters. In addition, Executive Director Maj. Gen. David Bockel testified on the Home Loan Guaranty Program, and Legislative Director Capt. Marshall Hanson participated in a roundtable about health care claims, as well as testified about health effects of the Vietnam War. Furthermore, ROA submitted more detailed responses to questions the committee had about the Service Members Law Center, Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployments Rights Act (USERRA), and other employment matters.
Congressman Jeff Miller (R-Fla.), who represents the 1st district, is the new chairman and previously served on the HVAC Subcommittee on Health Affairs. He has served on HVAC since 2001, as well as House Armed Services Committee (HASC). His district has the nation’s first naval aviation training site, is the birthplace of carrier aviation, and contains Eglin Air Force Base, Naval Air Station Pensacola and Whiting Field. Additionally, his district is home to one of the largest veteran populations.
|HVAC Chairman Jeff Miller (R-Fla.)|
The new ranking member who also formally served as the chairman of HVAC is Congressman Bob Filner (D-Calif.). He represents the 51st district which includes Naval Station San Diego and El Centro Naval Air Field. Filner has submitted new bills for the 112th including HR.117 which would improve housing, employment and other programs for veterans.
The vice chairman is Congressman Gus Bilirakis (R-Fla.) from the 9th district. He is also the chairman of the Republican Policy Committee’s Veterans’ Affairs Task Force. Bilirakis has introduced a bill, HR.303, for the new congress that would allow retired members who have a service-connected disability to receive both disability compensation and retired pay.
The new subcommittee chairmen for HVAC are as follows:
• Health – Chairwoman Ann Marie Buerkle (R-N.Y.)
• Oversight & Investigations – Chairman Bill Johnson (R-Ohio)
• Disability Assistance & Memorial Affairs – Chairman Jon Runyan (R-N.J.)
• Economic Opportunity – Chairman Marlin Stutzman (R-Ind.)
Note: Three of the new subcommittee chairs – Buerkle, Runyan, and Stutzman – are actually freshmen (newly-elected members). The full committee membership has not been assigned yet.