Veterans

We are honored to have a great number of veterans living in the Third District of North Carolina. These brave men and women deserve everything we have promised them.

Where I Stand

I believe those who wear or have worn the uniform of this nation deserve everything promised to them because they and their families have earned it defending our country. For my entire public life, I have been a tireless advocate for our veterans, their families, and all active and reserve personnel. I work closely with The Military Coalition that represents 5.5 million veterans and their families. I am honored to have received numerous awards from the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), the Fleet Reserve Association (FRA), the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA), and many others.

In the 113th Congress alone, I have sponsored or cosponsored multiple bills supporting veterans and their families. I will continue to stand by America’s veterans, because they stood up for us.

Legislative Action in the 113th Congress

Introduced Legislation

H.R. 1360 – Military Retiree Survivor Comfort Act - Would require the United States to forgive any overpayment of military retired or retainer pay for any period after the death of the recipient through the last day of the month in which such death occurs, if such payment is electronically deposited to a joint account bearing the name of the decedent and the decedent’s designated beneficiary. It also provides a special effective date for the first annuity payment to a survivor under the Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) when an overpayment is forgiven.

Cosponsored Legislation

H.R. 32 Military Surviving Spouses Equity Act - Would repeal certain provisions which require the offset of amounts paid in dependency and indemnity compensation from Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) annuities for the surviving spouses of former military personnel who are entitled to military retired pay or who would be entitled to retired pay except for being under 60 years of age.

H.R. 183 – Veterans Dog Training Therapy Act Would direct the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to carry out a pilot program for assessing the effectiveness of addressing post-deployment mental health and post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms through a therapeutic medium of service dog training and handling for veterans with disabilities.

H.R. 241 – Veterans Timely Access to Health Care Act - Would direct the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to ensure that the standard for access to hospital care and medical services from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is 30 days from the date the veteran contacts the VA.

H.R. 303 - Retired Pay Restoration Act - Expresses the sense of Congress that military retired pay should not be reduced because a military retiree is also eligible for veterans’ disability compensation awarded for a service-connected disability.

H.R. 333 – Disabled Veterans Tax Termination Act – Amends federal military retired pay provisions to: (1) permit veterans with a service-connected disability of less than 50% to concurrently receive both retired pay and disability compensation; (2) eliminate provisions requiring a phase-in between January 1, 2004, and December 31, 2013, of concurrent receipt of retired pay and disability compensation; (3) eliminate a phase-in of concurrent receipt of retired pay and disability compensation for disabled veterans determined to be individually unemployable; and (4) require a limited reduction in retired pay for qualified disability retirees with less than 20 years of retirement-creditable service.

H.R. 357 – GI Bill Tuition Fairness Act of 2013 - Would direct the Secretary of Veterans Affairs (VA), for purposes of the educational assistance programs administered by the Secretary, to disapprove courses of education provided by public institutions of higher education that do not charge tuition and fees for veterans at the same rate that is charged for in-state residents, regardless of the veteran’s state of residence.

H.R. 543 – Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2013 - Would include territorial seas as part of the Republic of Vietnam for purposes of the presumption of service connection for diseases associated with veterans’ exposure to certain herbicide agents while in Vietnam.

H.R. 569 – Veterans’ Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act of 2013 - Would direct the Secretary of Veterans Affairs (VA) to increase, as of December 1, 2013, the rates of veterans’ disability compensation, additional compensation for dependents, the clothing allowance for certain disabled veterans, and dependency and indemnity compensation for surviving spouses and children.

H.R. 595 – Veterans Education Equity Act of 2013 - Would revise the formula for the payment by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) of tuition and fees for individuals entitled to educational assistance under the Post-9/11 Educational Assistance Program and pursuing programs of education at public institutions of higher learning to include, as an additional payment formula, the greater of: (1) the actual net costs for in-state tuition after applying the receipt of any tuition waivers, reductions, scholarships, or other assistance; or (2) $17,500 for the academic year beginning on August 1, 2011 (such amount to be increased each subsequent year by the average percentage increase in undergraduate tuition costs).

H.R. 604 – Chris Kotch VA Education Access Act - Would make eligible under the Post-9/11 Educational Assistance Program an individual who is: (1) discharged or released from the armed forces due to a service-connected disability, a change from the current law which requires release from active duty in the armed forces; or (2) transferred to the temporary disability retirement list.

H.R. 635 – HEALTHY Vets Act of 2013 – Would require the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, in the case of a veteran for whom Department of Veterans Affairs facilities are geographically inaccessible (as defined under this Act), to contract for the provision of the following care: (1) primary care; (2) acute or chronic symptom management; (3) non-therapeutic medical services; and (4) other medical services determined appropriate by the director of the appropriate VA service region, after consultation with the VA physician responsible for such veteran’s primary care.

H.R.738 - Would eliminate the requirement that certain former members of the reserve components of the armed forces be at least 60 years of age in order to be eligible to receive health care benefits.

H.R.864 - Would direct the Secretary of Veterans Affairs (VA) to designate at least one city in the United States each year as an “American World War II City” based on: (1) contributions to the war effort during World War II; and (2) efforts to preserve the history of such contributions, including preservation organizations or museums, restoration of World War II facilities, and recognition of World War II veterans. It further designates Wilmington, North Carolina, as the first such city.

H.R. 975 – Servicemember Mental Health Review Act - Would extend through 2014 — five years longer than current law — the authority of the Physical Disability Board of Review to review the disability determinations of certain individuals. It would pertain to individuals who, since September 11, 2001, are separated from the armed forces due to unfitness for duty because of a mental condition with a disability rating of 20% or less and are found to be ineligible for retirement. It would add to those eligible for such review individuals who, before December 31, 2014, are separated due to unfitness because of a mental condition not amounting to disability, including separation based on a personality or adjustment disorder.

H.R.1209 - Would direct the president pro tempore of the Senate and the speaker of the House of Representatives to arrange for the award, on behalf of Congress, of a gold medal in honor of the members of the 17 Bombardment Group (Medium), who became known as the Doolittle Tokyo Raiders, in recognition of their military service during World War II.  It further requires the medal to be given to the National Museum of the United States Air Force for display and expresses the sense of Congress that such Museum should make the medal available for display elsewhere, particularly at locations and events associated with the Doolittle Tokyo Raiders.

H.R. 1288 – World War II Merchant Mariner Service Act – Would direct the Secretary of Homeland Security (DHS) to consider certain methods for verifying that an individual performed honorable service as a member of the merchant marine during the period beginning on December 7, 1941, and ending on December 31, 1946, for purposes of eligibility for veterans’ benefits under the GI Bill Improvement Act of 1977.

H.R.1488 – Recovering Service Members Disability Benefits Act – Would amend Title II (Old Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance –OASDI) of the Social Security Act to create an exception from the required waiting period for disability insurance benefites in the case of recovering service members.

H.R.1492 – To Establish the Commission on America and its Veterans - Would establish as an independent commission the Commission on America and its Veterans to: (1) submit to the President and Congress suggestions for ceremonies and events to acknowledge the wars recently fought and the heroism displayed by members of the Armed Forces; (2) report to the President and Congress on Commission findings, conclusions, and recommendations with respect to any deficiency in how the United States welcomes back such members; (3) begin convening conversations on the effect of war on members, their families, and the local communities, as well as addressing the reintegration experience and the gap between the military, veterans, and civilian life; and (4) submit to the Secretary of Veterans Affairs (VA) recommendations regarding activities of the Office of Armed Services and Veterans Public Outreach (established under this Act).

H.R. 1598 - Veteran’s I.D. Card Act - Would direct the Secretary of Veterans Affairs (VA) to issue a veteran’s identification card to any veteran who requests such card and is neither entitled to military retired pay nor enrolled in the VA system of patient enrollment.

H.R. 1796 – Troop Talent Act of 2013 - Would ensure that the education and training provided to members of the armed forces and veterans better assists members and veterans in obtaining civilian certifications and licenses.

H.R. 1824 – VA Regional Office Accountability Act Would require the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to submit to Congress an annual report on the performance of the regional offices of the Department of Veterans Affairs.