Washington, DC – Today, Congresswoman Julia Brownley (D-CA), Chairwoman of the House Veterans’ Affairs Health Subcommittee, testified before the House Rules Committee on her bill, the Veterans’ Access to Child Care Act (H.R. 840), which is on the House floor this week. Below is a link to the video and her remarks:

Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you Ranking Member and all the members of the Committee for allowing me the opportunity to testify today about a very important bill, the Veterans’ Access to Child Care Act.

As already has been stated, VA research has shown that the lack of access to child care is a barrier to receiving VA healthcare for many of our veterans.

In 2010, Congress directed VA to start a pilot program to provide child care at several VA facilities.

Since then, it has been hugely successful, and is popular among veterans and all of the VSOs.

My bill makes that pilot program permanent, finally. We have renewed it year, after year, after year, and expands it nation-wide.

Like the pilot, the bill is narrowly tailored for veterans who are full-time caretakers of children and who need intensive medical care or mental health treatments, such as cancer treatment or treatment for PTSD.

And it is strictly tailored for veterans who might otherwise miss their appointments because of lack of child care during appointments.

Similar legislation passed the House in the 115th Congress by voice vote – and it was supported by VA Committee members on both sides of the aisle.

Today, the Committee is considering many good amendments, such as clarifying that VA’s community-based outpatient clinics and Vet Centers are covered facilities under the bill, as well as amendments to clarify that healthcare services related to ‘substance use disorder,’ ‘military sexual trauma’, and ‘tele-mental health’ are intended to be covered.

These amendments are fully consistent with my intentions.

They are in-line with what VA has been doing.

And they will help provide clarity to the VA as it develops implementing regulations.

I appreciate all the work that the Rules and Veterans’ Affairs Committees have done to bring this bill forward.

Thank you again for the opportunity to testify.

I would be happy to answer also any questions and I yield back.

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