New leadership appointed to House and Senate VA committees

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legislativeupdate_newleadershipRepresentative Phil Roe was selected to serve as Chairman of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee (HVAC) for the 115th Congress. He succeeded Congressman Jeff Miller who retired at the end of the 114th Congress. Roe was sworn in to Congress in 2009 and has been active on the Committee since that time. He earned his medical degree from the University of Tennessee in 1970, and served as a captain in the 2nd Infantry Division 2nd Medical Battalion of the U.S. Army Medical Corps from 1973-74. Upon his election as Chairman, Roe indicated veterans issues are a top priority for him and that he will focus his efforts on VA reform and solutions aimed at improving veterans’ care.

Senator Jon Tester will take over as ranking member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee (SVAC) for the 115th Congress, replacing Senator Richard Blumenthal who served in the role for the past two years. Tester also serves as Ranking Member of the Senate Appropriations subcommittee dealing with the VA budget.  Having been a member of SVAC since 2007, Tester emphasized that he will work closely with veterans service organizations to increase timely access to health care at VA and increase opportunities for veterans after they leave the armed forces. A fierce opponent of efforts to shrink or dismantle VA health care, Tester’s priorities for the SVAC include reforming the Veterans’ Choice Program, streamlining duplicative care in the community programs, strengthening accountability and addressing medical workforce shortages.

Senator Johnny Isakson will remain Chairman of the SVAC and the announcement of the ranking member for the HVAC will likely be made in early January.

“We are encouraged by these new leaders on the Veterans’ Affairs committees for the 115th Congress,” said DAV Washington Headquarters Executive Director Garry Augustine. “We will continue to work closely with both the House and the Senate to promote our critical legislative priorities to help injured and ill veterans lead high quality lives with dignity and respect.”

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