House Republicans on Wednesday proposed a sweeping bill to strip protections from the families of those killed or wounded in the line of duty, while also giving more power to the president.
The House Appropriations Committee approved the bill, which includes the Veterans’ Protection Act, which is scheduled to be voted on in the Senate on Thursday.
The bill would remove a requirement that the VA pay the family of the victim to cover the cost of funeral expenses and would make veterans eligible for certain tax breaks.
The VA is already allowed to waive those rules, which it did last year for the families who were members of the military and veterans who were killed or seriously wounded in service.
But the new legislation would remove those rules and instead give the president the authority to waive them on a case-by-case basis.
“The current rules do not apply to veterans who have been killed or are in a medically induced coma.
But when the president makes an emergency determination that an individual should be exempted, it’s the VA that’s responsible for deciding whether to waive these rules,” said Rep. Scott Rigell, a Virginia Republican who co-authored the bill.”
I know the VA has a long way to go before they can fully address all of the issues we’re talking about here,” he said.
Veterans groups have been urging the House to move swiftly on the bill because it would provide them with greater oversight of the VA.
President Donald Trump’s administration has said it will not take action on any VA reforms until it has been fully vetted by Congress.