Paralyzed Veterans of America Applauds House Introduction of VA MISSION Act

WASHINGTON, DC — 5/3/18 Paralyzed Veterans of America (Paralyzed Veterans) strongly supports H.R. 5674, the VA MISSION Act. This bipartisan, bicameral legislation would advance one of Paralyzed Veterans’ top priorities— recognition of the sacrifice of veterans’ caregivers. The expansion of the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) Comprehensive Family Caregiver Program to veterans injured before September 11, 2001, is critical to our members and has been a main legislative focus for Paralyzed Veterans for several years.
 
“No group of veterans understands the value of caregivers more than our members—veterans with spinal cord injuries or diseases,” said Carl Blake, a service-disabled Army veteran and executive director of Paralyzed Veterans. “Most are ineligible for the Comprehensive Family Caregiver Program because they were injured before September 11, 2001. It is time to end this inequity once and for all. Caregivers are the most critical component of rehabilitation and eventual recovery for veterans with catastrophic injuries. Their well-being directly impacts the quality of care provided to veterans.  There is no reason to deny essential supports and services to catastrophically disabled pre-9/11 veterans. Paralyzed Veterans applauds the work of the House and Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committees for tackling this injustice.”

Earlier this spring, Congress came very close to including a similar legislative package as part of the omnibus appropriations bill, which Paralyzed Veterans and the VA strongly supported. Regrettably, this effort did not succeed. However, Paralyzed Veterans, alongside fellow veterans service organizations, continued to press on the progress made, and urged Congress not to lose momentum in advancing these critical, long sought after reforms in the waning days of the 115th Congress.
 
H.R. 5674 would also consolidate and reform VA’s community care programs, as well as provide for the realignment and modernization of VA’s health care infrastructure. Paralyzed Veterans greatly appreciates the efforts of House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Phil Roe (R-TN) and Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Johnny Isakson (R-GA) and Ranking Member Jon Tester (D-MT) for their hard work in seeing this historic legislation be accomplished.
 
“We call on all members of Congress to seize this opportunity to improve the lives of veterans and caregivers by swiftly passing H.R. 5674,” said Blake.

MEDIA CONTACT: Dana Kauffman 202-416-7608, danak@pva.org