Congress Passes Extensive Veterans Bill (AP)
By Charlie McCarthy | Wednesday, 16 December 2020 07:08 PM
Congress passed a bill to support veterans' causes on Wednesday.
Among the items in the bill were increased resources for homeless veterans, and mandates that Veterans Affairs hospitals hire a dedicated women's health provider, as reported by Stars and Stripes.
The end-of-year omnibus bill, more than 340 pages long, was passed by voice vote without any objections. It included provisions for Native American veterans, student veterans, and veterans experiencing the effects of toxic exposures and those affected by the coronavirus.
"This is the culmination of two years of bipartisan work," Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tenn., said on the House floor. "There is something in this bill for just about every one of our nation's veterans and their loved ones."
The bill was named for Roe, who didn’t seek reelection this year, and Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., who resigned from the Senate at the end of 2019. Both men were leaders on the Senate and House veterans' affairs committees.
Approved by the Senate last week, the bill heads to President Donald Trump’s desk for his signature.
In addressing women’s issues, the bill aids the military's fastest-growing demographic. The number of women using VA healthcare has increased from 160,000 to 475,000 since 2000.
The vote came as Congress concludes its 116th legislative session.
"I'm proud that one of my last votes of Congress will be in support of this bill, and I'm also humbled it bears my name and that of my friend," Roe said. "Helping to serve my fellow veterans in Congress these past 12 years has been the honor of a lifetime."
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