SIDNEY, OH – U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown’s (D-OH) staff traveled to Sidney today to meet with Ohio veterans. Veterans from Shelby County attended the roundtable and Brown’s office organized the roundtable with the Shelby County Veterans Service Office. Brown’s office will take the veterans’ priorities back to Washington, where the Senator sits on the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee.
As Sen. Brown’s office continues to convene roundtables with Ohio’s veterans, Brown recently participated in a Veterans’ Affairs Committee hearing regarding the implementation of the VA MISSION Act and Veterans Community Care Program (VCCP). Brown raised concerns regarding possible budget deficits at VA medical facilities and how that might impact veteran care. Previously he had pushed the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to implement community care standards for the VCCP as soon as possible to ensure consistent care for our nation’s veterans. VCCP was created by the VA MISSION Act to consolidate VA’s community care authorities into one easy to access program for veterans, so that they could decide with their VA provider how best to access timely quality care. Implementing across-the-board community care standards will help ensure Ohio veterans have access to the best care, whether they visit a VA medical facility or a certified community care center.
“Our veterans answered the call to serve, and we have a responsibility to make sure they have everything they need to support their families, care for their health, and land good-paying jobs as they transition to civilian life,” said Brown.
As a member of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, Brown has long fought to improve the lives of Ohio veterans. Some of his recent actions include:
- Passing legislation to help Ohio veterans exposed to Agent Orange:
- As part of a spending package, President Trump signed legislation into law that requires VA and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to issue a report within 30 days outlining any delays in making a determination on adding conditions to the list of service-connected presumptive illnesses.
- Last year, Brown introduced the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act, which would ensure these veterans are able to receive the healthcare benefits they need and have earned after their exposure to Agent Orange in Vietnam.
- Brown’s office held more than a dozen roundtables with veterans across Ohio last year.
- Passing legislation to prevent VA from punishing veterans for its own accounting mistakes:
- As part of a spending package, President Trump signed legislation into law that builds on Brown’s earlier work to help reduce overpayment errors by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), thereby reducing veteran debt to the Department.
- This legislation would require VA to submit a plan and timeline to Congress to track the cause of veteran debt.
- Last year, Brown reintroduced the Veterans Debt Fairness Act alongside Sens. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and John Boozman (R-Ark.) to prevent VA from charging veterans for its own accounting mistakes.
- Annually, VA sends as many as 200,000 overpayment notices totaling thousands of dollars to veterans and their families, sending them into crippling debt and withholding future benefits payments until the debt is paid. These overpayments are often a result of VA’s own accounting errors, but VA puts veterans and their families on the hook for repaying the debt.
- Holding a committee hearing on Toxic Exposure: Examining VA’s Presumptive Disability Decision-Making Process at Brown’s request:
- In September, at Brown’s request, the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs held a hearing on toxic exposure. Brown pressed government officials to act on the National Academies report regarding Agent Orange related diseases, share air quality test results with outside experts, and establish a presumptive procedure to address exposure to toxic burn pits and any diseases associated with that exposure that harms veterans.
- The military relied on open-air burn pits to dispose of toxic waste in Afghanistan and Iraq, which exposed servicemembers to toxic chemicals and fumes that have been linked to certain deadly diseases.
- Brown has advocated for Ohioans who have been harmed by environmental and other toxic exposures, including toxic burn pits and has introduced legislation, the Burn Pit Accountability Act to help study the effects of burn pits on servicemembers’ health.
Brown is the longest-serving U.S. Senator from Ohio on the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.