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Cornyn introduces bill to strengthen assistance for wounded soldiers & their families

Bipartisan effort stems from meetings with service members, veterans & military families in Texas

From the Office of Senator John Cornyn

April 25, 2007

Government - Senator Cornyn pictureWASHINGTON—U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, introduced bipartisan legislation on April 12 that would provide immediate and tangible assistance to wounded military service members and their families by strengthening current law in several key areas. Sen. Cornyn’s new legislation, the Veterans’ Housing Benefits Enhancement Act of 2007, already has the bipartisan support of both the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, along with U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison.

“We have an obligation and duty to ensure that the men and women who are serving, and have served, in America ’s military are receiving the best treatment and benefits for themselves and their families. We cannot, and should not, tolerate anything less,” Sen. Cornyn said. “We must do whatever it takes, including providing both the necessary resources and cutting bureaucratic red tape, to best meet the medical and other needs of those who defend our nation’s freedom.”

Sen. Cornyn noted that the basis for this important legislation came directly from recent meetings he had in Texas with wounded soldiers and their families, including a recent roundtable he convened at Brooke Army Medical Center (BAMC) in San Antonio on March 10.

“In my home state of Texas , in San Antonio , Brooke Army Medical Center is the crown jewel of military medicine. I have seen firsthand the magnificent job that the men and women at BAMC are doing in caring for our service members,” Sen. Cornyn said. “In conjunction with my BAMC visit, I heard from many soldiers, families, and Veterans about their experiences. I learned in particular of challenges that burn victims and their families have faced because they did not receive enough special care and assistance for such items as VA housing grants and automobile enhancements. These families are facing unique challenges as they deal with the injuries of their loved ones, and we have a responsibility to ensure that they don’t go it alone, but that they are given the resources and assistance they need to recover.”

Sen. Cornyn’s new legislation would accomplish the following:

  • Strengthen current law to provide for the specific needs of burn victims for housing and automobile grants;
  • Ensure that wounded Service members/Veterans with other specific needs such as Traumatic Brain injury are covered by grants, as required;
  • Strengthen DOD-to-VA transitions by providing partial housing grants for those Veterans residing with a family member to cover service members still on Active Duty awaiting their final VA disability rating;
  • Require the VA to report on the need for a permanent Housing grant for wounded Veterans residing with family members; and
  • Adjust current law to provide HISA housing grants to DOD service members awaiting final VA disability rating.

“I hope my colleagues will support this legislation so that we can better serve wounded military members and their families. With continued attention to our veterans, we can fashion a revised system that best supports them. They deserve nothing less—they are the finest our nation has to offer,” Sen. Cornyn concluded.

Sen. Cornyn serves on the Armed Services, Judiciary and Budget Committees. In addition, he is Vice Chairman of the Senate Republican Conference and the Senate Select Committee on Ethics. He serves as the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee’s Immigration, Border Security and Refugees subcommittee and the Armed Services Committee’s Airland subcommittee. He served previously as Texas Attorney General, Texas Supreme Court Justice, and Bexar County District Judge.

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