Washington, DC – Today, Congresswoman Julia Brownley (D-CA) released the following statement after the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs voted to authorize the Women Veterans Task Force and to pass her bills, the Elizabeth Dole Home and Community Based Service for Veterans and Caregivers Act (H.R. 6823) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Continuing Professional Education (CPE) Modernization Act (H.R. 3693).
“As Chair of the Women Veterans Task Force, I am proud to continue our work to recognize the service and sacrifice of our nation’s women veterans – and to provide them with the care and support they deserve,” said Congresswoman Brownley. “Since its original establishment in the 116th Congress, the Task Force has built a powerful women veterans outreach network and provided valuable insights on the myriad of challenges that women veterans face when trying to access VA healthcare and benefits. Having this direct insight has helped Congress develop and pass impactful legislation – including the Deborah Sampson Act, the Task Force’s signature achievement and one of the most comprehensive pieces of legislation for women veterans in our history – that is greatly improving the lives of women veterans across the country. The Women Veterans Task Force has also helped us to conduct oversight of VA to ensure it is meeting its mission to equitably serve all of our nation’s veterans. Today’s authorization of the Task Force will further advance our critical mission to increase the visibility of women veterans and to promote inclusivity and bring true equity to the two million women who have served our nation in uniform.”
“By authorizing the Women Veterans Task Force for the remainder of the 117th Congress, the Committee has once again reaffirmed its unwavering commitment to women veterans,” said Chairman Takano, Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. “We must remain steadfast in our efforts to ensure women veterans, the fastest-growing cohort of the veteran population, have equitable access to the comprehensive care and services they are due. I look forward to working with Chairwoman Brownley and the Task Force to foster a more welcoming environment for women veterans across VA.”
Women have served in the U.S. military since the Revolutionary War. Today, women comprise roughly 17% of serving military personnel, 10% of the veteran population, and 30% of service academy students. Women are the fastest-growing subpopulation of both servicemembers and veterans. The Women Veterans Task Force aims to increase their visibility, improve equity, and ensure that women veterans have access to the resources, benefits, and health care they have earned and deserve.
The House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs has made the Women Veterans Task Force a key priority. Chairwoman Brownley and the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs have hired Esti Lamonaca, a Professional Staff Member, to spearhead the Task Force in the 117th Congress. Esti is an Army veteran and longtime advocate for equality and inclusion within the military and veteran community.
In addition to authorizing the Women Veterans Task Force, the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs advanced two bills authored by Health Subcommittee Chairwoman Brownley. The Elizabeth Dole Home and Community Based Service for Veterans and Caregivers Act (H.R. 6823) will expand VA’s Home and Community Based Services to all VA Medical Centers and allow veterans to age at home with a higher quality of life and more supportive caregivers. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Continuing Professional Education (CPE) Modernization Act (H.R. 3693) will increase VA reimbursement for clinical employees’ continuing professional education expenses to ensure VA delivers the best, modern care available to our nation’s veterans.
“Research shows aging veterans’ health outcomes are better when they have the choice to stay home and receive the care and support that they need to age with dignity,” said Congresswoman Brownley. “When we support veterans staying in their homes, it keeps families together, supports caregivers, and helps communities remain connected and intact. My bill will make systemic improvements to how we care for aging and disabled veterans in this country, and ensure that veterans and their families – nationwide – have the options that they need as they grow older.”
“Additionally, the VA CPE Modernization Act will ensure VA health care professionals have access to continuing professional education, which is critical to helping VA keep pace with similar benefits offered in the private sector and keep the best and the brightest clinicians within the VA system,” continued Congresswoman Brownley. “This legislation will ensure that veterans receive the absolute best care from clinicians. Our veterans deserve nothing less.”
“I appreciate that the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs passed my bills today, and I will continue to work with my colleagues to get these bills across the finish line.”