WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) applauded President Obama signing into law bipartisan legislation to ensure accountability at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) while improving the delivery of health care provided to our nation’s veterans. Brown, who served on the 2014 veterans’ conference committee to negotiate this bill, issued the following statement after the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act of 2014 was signed into law today:
“Our nation’s veterans deserve the highest quality of care possible and a VA that works as a partner in achieving better health,” Brown said. “This bipartisan legislation will restore accountability among the senior executives at the VA while ensuring the Department has the resources it needs to hire new doctors and nurses to help address shortages throughout the system. Making these changes now will provide our veterans the care they deserve as we work to improve the VA.”
As the only Ohio Senator to serve a full term on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, Brown has introduced a package of key legislative proposals aimed at addressing issues facing Ohio veterans. Last month, Brown introduced the Mental-health Exposure Military Official Record Act (MEMORy Act), legislation that would ensure that unit commanders document events that individual service members are exposed to which might later be connected to PTS, mTBI, or other injuries.
In response to the disability claims backlog, Brown has helped secure record funds and staffing for the VA to combat the backlog. In November 2013, Brown announced that key provisions of his Veterans Services Outreach (VSO) Act passed the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs. The Act would require the VA to notify veterans filing claims electronically that they can receive help and important time-saving information that could significantly reduce their wait time. In August, Brown announced that he would also work to pass the Claims Processing Improvement Act of 2013, legislation that would hold the VA accountable by requiring it to publically report information on both its projected monthly goals and actual production so that Congress and the public knows if the VA is working toward eliminating its backlog. The bill would also establish a task force to hire and train claims processors, and develop tactics to attack and eliminate the backlog.
In December 2013, Brown announced his support for the Homeless Veterans Prevention Act, legislation that would improve homelessness prevention programs and increase the availability of transitional housing for veterans.