WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) was appointed to the joint Senate-House conference committee to finalize legislation that brings comprehensive reforms to the U.S Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
Last Tuesday marked the first meeting between the twenty-eight conferees. Brown is one of 14 senators on the committee and a senior member of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.
“Our nation’s veterans deserve the highest quality of care possible and a VA that plays a key role in helping our veterans receive the care they deserve,” Brown said. “As a member of the conference committee, I will work to ensure reforms bring increased accountability within the VA while ensuring the Department has the resources it needs to hire new doctors and nurses to help address shortages throughout the system. I urge my colleagues to set aside partisan differences and work quickly to pass this crucial legislation.”
As the only Ohio senator to serve a full term on the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs, Brown has introduced a package of key legislative proposals aimed at addressing issues facing Ohio veterans. In May, Brown toured the state to build support for his Significant Event Tracker (SET) 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 publicly 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.