Sunday, March 03, 2013

Congressional Update

For those who have an approved claim at 100% service connected disability, Congress is looking to restore the privilege of using military transport aircraft flights on a space available basis. 

HR 164 [Gus Bilirakis] has 57 cosponsors (35R, 22D), a nice balance, and was joined February 14th by S. 346, By Senators Tester, Heller, and Baucus.  The Senate bill has 5 cosponsors (3D, 2R).  Both bills were introduced early in the session, and with a good balance from both sides of the aisles. 

Here is the text of HR 164:

HR 164 IH
113th CONGRESS
1st Session
H. R. 164
To amend title 10, United States Code, to permit veterans who have a service-connected, permanent disability rated as total to travel on military aircraft in the same manner and to the same extent as retired members of the Armed Forces entitled to such travel.
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
January 4, 2013
Mr. BILIRAKIS introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Armed Services

A BILL
To amend title 10, United States Code, to permit veterans who have a service-connected, permanent disability rated as total to travel on military aircraft in the same manner and to the same extent as retired members of the Armed Forces entitled to such travel.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. TRANSPORTATION ON MILITARY AIRCRAFT ON A SPACE-AVAILABLE BASIS FOR DISABLED VETERANS WITH A SERVICE-CONNECTED, PERMANENT DISABILITY RATED AS TOTAL.

(a) Availability of Transportation- Section 2641b of title 10, United States Code, as amended by section 622 of National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013, is further amended--
(1) by redesignating subsection (f) as subsection (g); and
(2) by inserting after subsection (e) the following new subsection (f):
‘(f) Special Priority for Certain Disabled Veterans- (1) The Secretary of Defense shall provide transportation on scheduled and unscheduled military flights within the continental United States and on scheduled overseas flights operated by the Air Mobility Command on a space-available basis for any veteran with a service-connected, permanent disability rated as total.
‘(2) Notwithstanding subsection (d)(1), in establishing space-available transportation priorities under the travel program, the Secretary shall provide transportation under paragraph (1) on the same basis as such transportation is provided to members of the armed forces entitled to retired or retainer pay.
‘(3) The requirement to provide transportation on Department of Defense aircraft on a space-available basis on the priority basis described in paragraph (2) to veterans covered by this subsection applies whether or not the travel program is established under this section.
‘(4) In this subsection, the terms ‘veteran’ and ‘service-connected’ have the meanings given those terms in section 101 of title 38.’.
(b) Effective Date- Subsection (f) of section 2641b of title 10, United States Code, as added by subsection (a), shall take effect at the end of the 90-day period beginning on the date of the enactment of this Act.

We will post tracking links to both bills near the top of the right side-column.

At this point, there is no sign of an Agent Orange bill from the Senate. 

VNVets

”It is a stain on this nation's honor that the Department of Veterans Affairs has become a deadlier and more difficult adversary to the American veteran than any they have ever faced on a battlefield."-- VNVets

"The concept that Agent Orange, and its effects, stopped dead in its tracks at the shoreline is simply too illogical, and too ludicrous to accept. What does that say about the Obama Administration and his Department of Veterans Affairs?"--VNVets

"With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan--to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations." --President Abraham Lincoln

"It follows then as certain as that night succeeds the day, that without a decisive naval force we can do nothing definitive, and with it, everything honorable and glorious."--President George Washington

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