VIDEO: House Passes Congresswoman Elaine Luria’s Bill to Help American Veterans

May 21, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON – The House of Representatives today passed Congresswoman Elaine Luria's (VA-02) bipartisan bill that would put more money in the pockets of American veterans. 

The Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) Act of 2019, H.R. 1200, passed by voice vote and is Congresswoman Luria’s first bill to clear the full House. (VIDEO here.)

“In Congress, I have vowed to keep our nation's veterans at the top of my mind, and today I proudly deliver on that promise,” Congresswoman Luria said. “These heroes sacrificed family time and put their lives on the line to keep America safe. I urge my Senate colleagues to swiftly do their part in ensuring veterans get the benefits they have earned.”

A first-term House member who served 20 years in the Navy, Congresswoman Luria is working on a number of different veterans-related fronts as a member of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs and House Armed Services Committee. Her bill that passed the House today would provide a cost-of-living increase by the same percentage as Social Security and would be effective Dec. 1, 2019.

A cost-of-living increase would aid veterans, their families, and their survivors to help maintain the value of their benefits against inflation. Without such increases, veterans may not be able to have an acceptable quality-of-life into their later years.

The bill would provide cost-of-living increases for wartime disability compensation; compensation for dependents; clothing allowance; dependency and indemnity compensation to surviving spouses; and dependency and indemnity compensation to children.

Ahead of passage, Congresswoman Luria delivered the following House Floor speech. (VIDEO here.)

Madam Speaker, I rise today to speak in support of my bipartisan bill, H.R. 1200, the Veterans’ Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act of 2019.

In Congress, I’ve vowed to keep our nation's veterans at the top of my mind, and I plan to deliver on that promise through this critical piece of legislation.

I represent a Coastal Virginia district with eight major military installations, including Naval Station Norfolk, the largest naval station in the United States. So veterans are a clearly a critical part of my constituency, just as they are honored members of every congressional district across America.

Our veterans put their lives on the line and deployed far from home to keep America safe. As a 20-year Navy veteran myself, I'm proud to bring a bill to the floor that would eliminate the erosions of the benefits they earned in service to our country.

The Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act would recognize that the benefits we provide our veterans need to be modernized and increased the same way that Social Security has raised benefits to meet cost-of-living increases.

My bill enhances benefits for wartime disability compensation; compensation for dependents; clothing allowance; dependency and indemnity compensation to surviving spouses; and dependency and indemnity compensation to children.

We have seen costs for disability care, clothing, and child care increase over the years, and it is vital that we continue to provide benefits that actually meet the demands that our veterans see on the ground.

A cost-of-living increase would aid veterans, their families, and their survivors to help maintain the value of their benefits against inflation. Without consistent increases, veterans and their families may not be able to have a consistent quality-of-life into their later years.

Providing quality benefits to our veterans and their dependents can change lives, and Congress must honor the commitment to those American heroes who served in harm’s way so that we can live in peace at home. 

I think my colleagues on the Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs Subcommittee and Ranking Member Mike Bost for being a cosponsor of this legislation.

And I urge swift House passage so that we can do our part to push this into law and help our nation's veterans. Thank you, and I yield back the remainder of my time.

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.

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