Congresswoman Elaine Luria Advocates for National Security and Veterans’ Priorities During Active Week in Committee

July 31, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. — This week, Congresswoman Elaine Luria was at work in the Capitol, participating in a briefing on the situation aboard USS BONHOMME RICHARD, a subcommittee hearing to investigate sexual harassment in the Armed Forces, and a full committee markup of pending legislation to assist veterans.

Congresswoman Luria began the week at the Readiness Subcommittee’s and Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee’s briefing regarding the fire aboard USS BONHOMME RICHARD. The purpose of this briefing was to learn about current actions to mitigate the damage of the fire and discuss a plan to move forward with investigations.

The following day, Congresswoman Luria participated in the Military Personnel Subcommittee’s oversight hearing to analyze trends of sexual harassment in the Armed Forces, following Spc. Vanessa Guillén’s murder. Participants sought to gain insight on Department of Defense (DoD) procedures to prevent sexual harassment, enable survivors to report abuse, and punish offenders. Congresswoman Luria spoke about how DoD needs to change and update its policies to empower survivors of sexual harassment to seek justice. She commended Congresswoman Jackie Speier’s (CA-14) amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to require DoD to create a confidential reporting process.

“I entered the military on July 1, 1993, and I feel like since then, very little has changed in what is happening,” said Congresswoman Elaine Luria. “You talk over and over again about the programs you’ve implemented, but I truly feel like we actually have to do something differently. I applaud Chairwoman Speier for her effort that she put in this year’s NDAA, and we would like to look at how that type of change of an independent prosecutor can help with this situation in the future.”

To view footage of Congresswoman Luria’s remarks, please view the link here.

Yesterday, the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs (HVAC) held a full committee markup to improve and pass pending legislation to support American veterans. During this markup, multiple bills that Congresswoman Luria supported passed the Committee.

Congresswoman Luria voiced her support of the Veterans Benefits Fairness and Transparency Act (H.R. 7795) before it passed. She collaborated with Congressman Andy Barr (KY-06) to introduce this bipartisan legislation. It will protect veterans applying for VA disability benefits by requiring the VA to maintain the availability of disability benefits questionnaires (DBQs) on the VA website. 

“The brave men and women who return home from serving our country are entitled to disability benefits, however without transparent access to the DBQ form, countless veterans may go without the ability to successfully file a claim,” said Congresswoman Luria. “As Chair of the Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs Subcommittee, I’m proud to partner with Congressman Barr to ensure our veterans have access to the resources they need to receive the benefits they’ve earned.”

To watch Congresswoman Luria speak favor of H.R. 7795, please view the link here.

In yesterday’s markup, HVAC favorably marked two bills that advanced from the Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs, which Congresswoman Luria chairs. These included the Veterans Cemetery Grants Improvement Act and the Chuck Osier Burial Benefits Act. The bills would address burial issues for veterans, such as cremation and being buried on tribal land.

The Committee also passed multiple bills that Congresswoman Luria cosponsored, including the Veterans Economic Recovery Act of 2020 and the Honoring All Veterans Act. These bills seek to address critical priorities such as creating an education program for unemployed veterans and updating the VA’s motto to be inclusive of all veterans.

 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.