News Releases

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) joined several of her colleagues to announce bipartisan legislation to help ensure that severely disabled veterans receive quality care from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). From 1996 until 2008, the VA was required to report on the number of beds and employees assigned to care for severely disabled veterans.  That requirement expired in 2008. Veterans affected include patients with spinal cord injuries or disorders, blindness, amputations, and mental disorders. The Disabled Veterans Capacity Act of 2016 would reinstate this reporting requirement, providing the Congressional oversight necessary to best ensure that the VA has the resources needed to meet the demand. The legislation is sponsored by U.S. Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Pat Toomey (R-PA), and also cosponsored by U.S. Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and Bob Casey (D-PA).

“Our country must uphold its promise to take care of the men and women who served, and this legislation moves us closer to that goal,” Senator Murray said. “I’m proud to support reinstating this commonsense requirement to ensure VA can care for some of our most seriously disabled veterans as part of our broader push for policies that truly honor those who have served our country.”

The Paralyzed Veterans of American (PVA) have made the Disabled Veterans Capacity Act of 2016 their top legislative priority for this Congress. Additionally, Blinded Veterans Association (BVA), Disabled American Veterans (DAV), and Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) all support this legislation. A companion bill was introduced in the House of Representatives by U.S. Reps. Jeff Denham (R-CA-10) and Sean Maloney (D-NY-18).

Senator Murray has consistently called on her colleagues to improve veteran care. Last week, Senator Murray successfully fought to include several provisions she wrote to help Washington state’s veterans and families in the wide-sweeping Veterans First Act, including her proposal to expand the VA’s comprehensive Caregivers Program to veterans of all eras. The bill, introduced last week, also includes a provision that would prevent the VA from cutting off services for homeless veterans based on their discharge status or length of service. Last month, Senator Murray applauded successful passage of her amendment in the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2017 to allow the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to cover the costs of reproductive services for veterans who suffered service-related injuries that prevent them from starting families.

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