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Congressman Garamendi Today Votes for Important Legislation to Improve Health Services Access for Military Personnel and Veterans

April 21, 2010
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman John Garamendi (D-Walnut Creek, CA) today was proud to vote for the Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act, important legislation that will drastically improve health care for our brave men and women who have served in uniform. The bill passed unanimously.

"The most important responsibilities of Congress are to make sure our nation is safe and secure and to make sure the brave men and women who protect us have all they need to prosper during and after their service," explained Congressman Garamendi, whose district includes Travis Air Force Base. "Today’s vote sends to the President’s desk important legislation that will drastically improve the health services available to military personnel, veterans, and their families."

About 20 percent of active duty, 15 percent of reserve and 25 percent of retired and separated members have a family member or friend who has been forced to leave a job to care for the veteran full-time. The legislation and amendments voted on today by the House:

  • Provide support to family and others who care for disabled, ill, or injured veterans;
  • Enhance health services for the 1.8 million women veterans, including care for newborns for the first time in history and enhanced treatment for sexual trauma;
  • Expand mental health services for veterans and health care access for veterans in rural areas;
  • Prohibit copayments for veterans who are catastrophically disabled;
  • Provide support services to family and other caregivers of veterans, including education on how to be a better caregiver, counseling and mental health services, and respite care for family and other caregivers of all veterans;
  • Provide health care and a stipend for caregivers living with severely wounded veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan; and
  • Expand transitional housing opportunities for homeless veterans.

Today’s vote merges two bills previously passed by the House – the Caregiver Assistance and Resource Enhancement Act and the Women Veterans Health Care Improvement Act – with additional language passed by the Senate. The legislation was delayed because Republican Senator Tom Coburn held up the bill.