House Passes Three of Maloney’s Bills to Support Veterans
Washington – Representative Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18) announced that three of his bills to support veterans have passed the House of Representatives, which marks 33 pieces of legislation passed the House since joining Congress. Rep. Maloney’s Air Traffic Controller Act was included in H.R. 636, the FAA Extension, Safety and Security Act of 2016, which would improve hiring and staffing of air traffic controllers and facilitate the hiring of more veteran controllers. In addition, the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2017 contained two legislative proposals, which he introduced, to ensure disabled veterans receive specialized treatment and loan forgiveness.
“My father was a navy veteran who was nearly killed serving his country, so ensuring we take care of Hudson Valley veterans – especially those who were hurt during their time of service – is a top priority for me,” said Rep. Maloney. “Working through Washington gridlock, I will continue to find partners on the other side of the aisle to make sure we keep our promises to our vets and get things done for all of my neighbors in the Hudson Valley.”
Introduced in May, the Air Traffic Controller Act would improve the hiring and staffing of air traffic controllers at the FAA. America is on the precipice of an Air Traffic Control crisis, as older controllers retire faster than new controllers can be hired and trained. The Air Traffic Controller Act would clear out redundant bureaucratic hurdles to speed the hiring of more controllers as opposed to slowing it down. It would also prioritize hiring veterans and Collegiate Training Initiative (CTI) graduates by placing them in a separate hiring pool from the general public and requires the FAA to select veterans for vacancies without subjecting them to FAA’s biographical assessment. It would also recommend the FAA to recruit experienced controllers, including military and Depart of Defense civilian controllers, Federal Contract Tower controllers, and those with prior FAA experience.
“Millions of New Yorkers rely on our airports for safe, efficient and convenient travel every year – helping to grow our economy and create jobs,” said Rep. Maloney, member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. “My bill will make sure our airports are adequately staffed and give our veterans the chance to find meaningful, good paying jobs when they come home - keeping our runways and skies safe for all travelers."
Introduced in March, the Disabled Veterans Student Loan Protection Act will ensure greater cooperation between the Department of Education, VA, and Department of Defense by establishing a system for transferring relevant information for veterans with 100-percent service-connected disabilities who have outstanding loans. Many of these veterans are unaware that they are eligible for this benefit, and currently, the executive agencies are not required to communicate or disseminate information to qualified veterans. This legislation has been endorsed by: Disabled American Veterans (DAV), Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA), The American Veterans (AMVETS), the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA), the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), and the Student Veterans of America (SVA).
“When my dad came home from the Navy, his country had his back and helped him go to college on the GI Bill. But far too often these days, the burden is on our veterans to find and secure the benefits they earned while serving our country. We should be making it easier for our veterans to go to college, not harder,” said Rep. Maloney. “My legislation would cut through bureaucratic red tape and ensure that our disabled veterans get their student loans forgiven – a benefit they’ve been promised and earned but one they rarely get.”
“Veterans with a 100-percent service-connected disability are entitled to loan forgiveness, yet the burden is on the veteran to ensure they get their loans forgiven. DAV supports Representative Maloney and commends him for introducing legislation that would cut through the red tape and ensure the veterans who sacrificed in service to our nation automatically get the student loan forgiveness they deserve,” said Paul Varela, Disabled American Veterans.
In addition, the Appropriate Care for Disabled Veterans Act extends a mandate for the VA to report on its capacity for rehabilitating disabled veterans. To ensure the needs of disabled veterans were met, in 1996 Congress mandated that the VA maintain its capacity for the specialized treatment and rehabilitative needs of disabled veterans based on a number of specific measurements. For spinal cord injuries in particular, this capacity was to be measured by the number of staffed beds and the number of full-time employee equivalents available to provide care. The VA was also required to report this information to Congress after it was reviewed by the VA’s Office of the Inspector General. This reporting requirement has since lapsed.
“It is critical that our veterans receive the best possible care when they come home,” said Rep. Maloney. “This legislation will hold the VA accountable for doing their job and delivering on their promise – providing top-notch comprehensive and specialized care for our veterans who have sacrificed so much in defense of our freedoms.”
"PVA was pleased to see the provisions of H.R. 5091 included in the Milcon-VA conference report. The reinstatement of the requirement for VA to report its capacity to provide specialized services is a high priority for PVA. We are grateful to Congressman Maloney for his support and efforts on behalf of this much needed legislation,” said Carl Blake, Associate Executive Director, Government Relations, Paralyzed Veterans of America.
Rep. Maloney has a track record of getting things done for Hudson Valley veterans, despite Washington gridlock. In 2013, Rep. Maloney’s Disabled Veterans Red Tape Reduction Act was signed into law, which helped to address the Veterans Administration (VA)’s backlog of disability claims. In December 2015, Rep. Maloney’s Wounded Warrior Employment Improvement Act was signed into law to reform the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) program, the key employment program to help assist, train and find jobs for veterans who have compensable service-connected disabilities.
Since joining Congress, Rep. Maloney has worked to pass 33 bills through the House Of Representatives, 17 of which have since been signed into law. He has also secured over $3 million in guaranteed benefits for more than 800 Hudson Valley veterans and their family members who were owed education, disability, retirement, medical, burial, spousal and dependents’ compensation. Rep. Maloney has also hosted four veterans resources and jobs fairs with dozens of local veterans organizations, and has secured over 129 service medals, including 3 Bronze Star Medals and 3 Purple Hearts. A comprehensive list of Representative Maloney’s accomplishments can be found here.