Chair Luria Highlights Accomplishments of Disability and Memorial Affairs Subcommittee
WASHINGTON – Today, House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs (DAMA) Chair Elaine Luria (VA-02) reflected on the legislative and oversight accomplishments of her subcommittee in 2019.
A 20-year Navy veteran who retired at the rank of Commander, Congresswoman Luria became the first-ever woman veteran from a military service branch to serve on the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs (HVAC), and the first to lead an HVAC Subcommittee.
“It is an honor to lead the subcommittee responsible for ensuring that our bravest men and women receive the benefits they’ve earned,” Congresswoman Luria said. “Over the past year, the Disability and Memorial Affairs Subcommittee has been on the forefront of efforts to ensure our veterans receive the care that they need while also tackling oversight issues that were forgotten by Washington politicians for too long. As a veteran myself, I take the duty to advocate for servicemembers, military families, and disabled veterans seriously and I look forward to leading more initiatives that honor their sacrifice and courage.”
Since leading her first DAMA Subcommittee hearing, Congresswoman Luria has spearheaded several efforts to continue to fight for American veterans:
- Earlier this month, Congresswoman Luria led a roundtable discussion examining the dangers that per and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) pose to veterans and military families living on military installations. PFAS are synthetic chemicals that can contaminate sources of drinking water.
- The Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019, which passed the Subcommittee with Congresswoman Luria’s support, became law in June. This law reverses decades of neglect for Vietnam-era veterans who served in the offshore waters by allowing them to receive VA benefits based on herbicide (Agent Orange) exposure. Congresswoman Luria recently led a hearing where she pressed top VA officials on the implementation of the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act and identified coverage gaps that need to be filled.
- Congresswoman Luria’s Veterans’ Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act (H.R. 1200) became law three months ago. The new law will put more money in the pockets of American veterans by providing a cost-of-living adjustment increase on disability compensation. This increase will mirror the same cost-of-living increase for Social Security.
- In September, Congresswoman Luria led an oversight hearing on the VA’s contract exam process. The hearing emphasized the need to improve the VA claim process and its impact on rural veterans, especially those living on the Eastern Shore.
- The Identifying Barriers and Best Practices Study Act, which Congresswoman Luria introduced with Congressman Khanna, passed the Subcommittee and went on to pass the full House this December. This bipartisan bill would identify and address barriers and benefit disparities between veterans who served in the Guard, Reserve, Active Duty, and special programs.
- In February, Congresswoman Luria introduced the VA Website Accessibility Act (H.R. 1199). This bill would direct the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to conduct a study and submit a plan to Congress that would make VA websites accessible for veterans affected by blindness or hearing loss. It passed the House this October and is waiting for a vote in the Senate.
- Congresswoman Luria led a legislative and oversight hearing to help ensure veteran survivors of military sexual trauma (MST) have access to disability benefits. During the hearing, Congresswoman Luria highlighted the VA’s resistance to expressly allow the inclusion of online records as evidence of MST.
Congresswoman Elaine Luria represents Virginia’s 2nd Congressional District. She serves on the House Armed Services Committee, where she is the Vice Chair of the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, and the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, where she serves as Chair of the Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs Subcommittee.