ATHENS, OH – U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown’s (D-OH) staff hosted a virtual roundtable with southeast Ohio County Veteran Service Office Directors, Commissioners, and staff. Brown’s office will take the veterans’ priorities back to Washington, where the Senator sits on the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee.

“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:

In August, Senator Brown sent a letter to Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Denis McDonough expressing concern over the growing number of disability claims being filed with the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA). Due to COVID-19, the VA temporarily paused in-person Compensation and Pension (C&P) examinations, which led to a significant backlog of claims.

Brown joined colleagues in reintroducing legislation that would mandate the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) reimburse veterans’ emergency health care expenses from non-VA facilities that are not covered by the veteran’s private insurance. This bicameral legislation follows the 2016 Staab v. McDonald and 2019 Wolfe v. Wilkie decisions, both ruling that the VA must reimburse veterans for these emergency medical expenses.

Brown is pushing to get his bipartisan legislation, the Daniel J. Harvey Jr. and Adam Lambert Improving Servicemember Transition to Reduce Veteran Suicide Act, to be included in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The bill, which was included in the House-passed NDAA, would create a pilot program to add a new component to the Transition Assistance Program (TAP). Specifically, the bill is designed to counsel servicemembers about mental health, the challenges that they might face during transition to civilian life and how that might affect their mental health, and the services available to them at their local Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical facility.

A modified version of Brown’s  bipartisan legislation – the SFC Heath Robinson Burn Pit Transparency Act – to help veterans who have been harmed by exposure to toxic burn pits, was reported out of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee in May as a part of a larger legislative package, the Comprehensive and Overdue Support for Troops (COST) of War Act of 2021. 

###