Release: Connolly Votes for Passage of Two Veterans Bills
Washington, DC, October 13, 2009
The U.S. House of Representatives has passed two important bills to help veterans and service members, including legislation cosponsored by Congressman Gerry Connolly to ensure reliable and timely funding to better anticipate and meet the demand for high quality medical care for our veterans.
The U.S. House of Representatives passed two important bills Wednesday to help veterans and service members, including legislation cosponsored by Congressman Gerry Connolly to ensure reliable and timely funding to better anticipate and meet the demand for high quality medical care for our veterans.
“With more and more veterans and service members returning from war suffering from increasingly complex medical conditions, it is imperative that the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has the appropriate and predictable funding to pay for the treatment they need,” Connolly said. “I was proud to cosponsor this legislation that allows advance funding for VA medical programs. This will make sure that any delays in Congress’ passage of veterans’ appropriations bills never hinder veterans’ medical care.”
Connolly said the bill, H.R. 1016, authorizes Congress to approve funding for VA medical care one year in advance and also requires the President to request those funds one year early. “We owe no less to the dedicated men and women who have fought for our nation and our freedom.” Connolly noted that last year was the first time in 12 years that Congress has enacted the veterans’ appropriations bill on time. This year, he said, the House passed the veterans’ appropriations, but the Senate has not completed action.
The bill that passed the House Wednesday was endorsed by a number of veterans’ groups including the American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, AMVETS, Paralyzed Veterans of America, Vietnam Veterans of America, Disabled American Veterans, the Blinded Veterans Association, the Military Order of the Purple Heart, and the Jewish War Veterans.
Most of those veterans’ organizations also supported the second House-passed bill supported by Connolly on Wednesday. The Service Members Home Ownership Tax Act, H.R. 3590, makes several changes to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to ensure that service members can take full advantage of federal homebuyer incentives.
Connolly said the bill extends the first-time homebuyer tax credit for one year, until December 1, 2010, so service members stationed overseas for 90 days or more can take advantage of the credit when they return to the states. It also protects service members from having to repay the credit if they are ordered to deploy to a different location and are forced to sell their house within three years of buying it, and ensures that military personnel selling their homes are eligible for certain tax-exemptions under the Defense Housing Assistance Program.
“On the battlefield, the military pledges to leave no soldier behind. I want to make sure that we, as a nation, make the same pledge when they return home – that we will leave no veteran behind,” Connolly said.