Meng Provisions to Assist Veterans Signed into Law by President Obama
Several provisions authored by U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY) that aim to assist veterans were signed into law this afternoon by President Obama.
Meng’s provisions – part of the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations legislation – were attached to the stop-gap spending bill that the President signed to avert a government shutdown. Her measures include:
- A provision that seeks to have the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) hire more female health care professionals in order to provide female veterans with greater opportunities to choose the gender of their health care provider. The measure would create more options for female veterans who prefer to select female health care providers.
- A provision that seeks to have the VA allow religious emblems (emblems of belief) on headstones of unclaimed, deceased veterans. The measure would allow religious identifiers to be on the headstones of these veterans as long as documentation of the veteran’s beliefs can be produced such as through dog tags or other military documentation.
- A provision that seeks to have the Secretary of Veterans Affairs appoint an additional Asian American to the Advisory Committee on Minority Veterans. Asian Americans are currently underrepresented on the panel which provides the Secretary and Congress with advice about medical care, benefits, and services for veterans.
- A provision that seeks to have the VA accept medical opinions from non-VA doctors in order to determine whether or not a veteran has a disability. Usage of non-VA doctors for this propose would facilitate faster payment of disability benefits.
“I am extremely pleased that these important measures are now the law of the land,” said Meng. “We must continue to do all we can to take care of our nation’s veterans, and these provisions will help our former service members in several key areas. Many thanks to the President and my Congressional colleagues for moving these items forward.”
The stop-gap spending bill keeps the government open by funding government operations through December 9th.