Following Series of Statewide Roundtables, Senator Stabenow Announces Legislation and Actions to Improve Services for Veterans
Senator Stabenow has held 13 roundtables across our state over the last year with Michigan veterans, commanders, and service providersFriday, August 10, 2018
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) announced legislation and actions to improve services for veterans at events in Berkley, Swartz Creek, and Kentwood. Her announcement follows a statewide series of roundtables Stabenow held with veterans leaders and service providers to get their input on how programs serving veterans are working.
“I have had the privilege of working with veterans across Michigan over the years as we’ve championed the opening and expansion of new veterans clinics across the state,” said Senator Stabenow. “This past year, I’ve met with veteran leaders and service providers at 13 roundtables in Michigan to hear firsthand how these and other services are working. In response to these meetings, we are announcing legislation and actions to ensure that our nation continues to keep our promises to those who have served.”
Stabenow’s new legislation and actions would improve services for our veterans in four important areas: transition assistance, housing for student veterans, health care, and support for farmer veterans.
Helping Veterans Transition to Civilian Life:
- Senator Stabenow has introduced bipartisan legislation with Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID) to reform the Transition Assistance Program, which is responsible for providing counseling, training and assistance to service members. One major reform in the bill would allow service members to give permission to be contacted by local community groups – including veteran service organizations – as they transition into civilian life. Other changes include requiring the Department of Defense to start the transition and counseling process earlier.
Maintaining Housing for Student Veterans:
- Because the VA cannot pay housing benefits in between academic semesters, for some student veterans, the end of the semester can mean the loss of housing benefits. Senator Stabenow’s common-sense Student Veterans Housing Act will ensure that student veterans don’t have to reach into their own pockets to pay for a benefit they have earned.
Improving VA Health Care:
- Stabenow heard from veterans across the state about problems with the Veterans Choice program and passed legislation to improve VA care. The VA Mission Act – recently signed into law – included legislation authored by Senator Stabenow to require the VA to pay providers within 30 days of receiving an electronic claim or 45 days of receiving a paper claim. This will ensure that rural hospitals and providers are reimbursed for services and can continue to see patients.
Supporting Our Farmer Veterans:
- As Chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee, Senator Stabenow championed initiatives in the 2014 Farm Bill to help veterans start careers in agriculture, creating a Veteran Liaison at the Agriculture Department and providing veterans more training and financing. To build on this progress, Senator Stabenow authored provisions that help expand support for farmer veterans in the 2018 Senate Farm Bill, which passed the Senate on a bipartisan historic vote of 86-11.
More information on Stabenow’s new legislation may be found here.
“We were so appreciative to host Senator Stabenow earlier this year for an important discussion with our veterans and advocates on how we can improve services,” said Tom Bustance, Commander of American Legion Post 374. “We are thankful she is back again to announce these new actions to help keep our promise to our veterans.”
“I’m proud to stand with Senator Stabenow today because I know she supports veterans and has our back,” said John Wuerth, Oakland County resident, member of UAW Region 1 Veterans Council, and former Navy radioman who served during Vietnam. “She listened to our concerns and is taking action to better help veterans get the care they need and transition back to civilian life.”
“We were so appreciative to host Senator Stabenow earlier this year for an important discussion with our veterans and advocates on how we can improve services,” said Gary Goodall, American Legion 1st Vice Commander. “We are thankful she is back again to announce these new actions to help keep our promise to our veterans.”
“I’m proud to stand with Senator Stabenow today because I know she supports student veterans,” said Chaz Fowler, United States Marine Corps veteran and Saginaw Valley State University student. “Her new legislation will make it easier for student veterans to keep their housing between semesters and stay on track to graduate.”
“Senator Stabenow understands the challenges veterans face when they transition back to civilian life,” said Sgt. First Class U.S. Army Retired Ronnie Cyrus, Transition Assistance Advisor for the State of Michigan and Legion of Merit Recipient. “She is listening to our concerns and is taking action to better help veterans get the care and resources they need and I think this is a great start.”
“We had a great discussion with Senator Stabenow at the last roundtable and are pleased she is back today to announce new actions to help student veterans,” said Bethany Alford, Director of Military Student Affairs at Saginaw Valley State University. “Senator Stabenow’s work in this area is deeply appreciated.”
“We are so happy to host Senator Stabenow today as she announces these new actions to help keep our promise to our veterans,” said Steve Pruitt, President and Adjutant of DAV William A. Smith, Jr. Chapter 2. “Senator Stabenow has always been a great partner as we work to better serve Michigan’s veterans.”
“I’m proud to stand with Senator Stabenow today because I know she supports veterans and has our back,” said Michael Hyacinthe, United States Navy Seabee Veteran and entrepreneur. “She is listening to our concerns and is taking action to better help veterans get the care they need and transition back to civilian life.”
“Michigan farmer veterans across the state appreciate Senator Stabenow’s support,” said Frank Corrado, United States Army veteran and blueberry farmer. “We are grateful for her work to secure new resources in the Farm Bill that help us start and sustain a life on the farm.”
“We know student veterans face unique challenges,” said Tim Marroquin, Director of the Veterans Upward Bound Program at Grand Valley State University. “Senator Stabenow has been a strong partner in our efforts to make sure student veterans get the resources they need to be successful.”
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