VA Committee reviews Choice

Mar 12, 2017

Veterans Affairs Secretary Dr. David Shulkin and Senator John McCain (R-Arizona) testified at my first hearing as a member of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs. The purpose was to review the Choice Program, which allows veterans, like those in the Marianas, who live far from regular VA facilities, to get health services from local doctors. Dr. Shulkin and Senator McCain agreed more could be done to improve Choice and other VA community care programs. I spoke about the frustration of many veterans in the Marianas, who have difficulty accessing benefits and services they have earned. To help improve that situation is why I asked for a waiver to join the Veterans’ Affairs committee.

The Committee also reported several bills:

  • H.R. 369, extending the Choice program beyond the current sunset date of August 7;  
  • H.R. 1259, giving the Secretary authority to remove, demote, or suspend employees for poor performance or misconduct;
  • H.R. 1181, requiring a judicial finding before barring a veteran from buying or owning a gun;
  • H.R. 1367, expanding the Secretary’s authority to hire certain staff, including physicians; and
  • H.R. 1379, extending Post-9/11 educational benefits to all Purple Heart recipients.