Amata and Subcommittee Focus on Improving VA Implementation
Washington, D.C. – Thursday, Congresswoman Aumua Amata and other members of the Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs examined the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) efforts to implement new policies.
Recent reports from the Office of the Inspector General revealed concerns about the VA’s planning for transitions, and highlighted how Veterans could encounter unnecessary obstacles to services as the VA phased in new policies, due to VA workload, training, inadequate technology or lack of monitoring for errors. Members of the Subcommittee are concerned those issues could lead to unnecessary re-examinations for Veterans after being awarded a disability rating, or needless difficulties pursuing claims.
“The health and well-being of our veterans is a national priority,” said Aumua Amata. “These reports by the Inspector General can become a helpful push for improvements as the VA goes through policy changes. The end goal is better services for our Veterans and better policies directing the VA.”
Congresswoman Amata and Committee Members during VA testimony on ensuring that veterans’ services are available.
Congresswoman Amata’s questions to the witness panel
The Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs heard testimony from the Honorable Paul Lawrence, the VA Under Secretary for Benefits, and the Honorable Michael Missal, Inspector General of the VA. Following this panel, the Committee also heard expert testimony about the effects on Veterans from representatives of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Disabled American Veterans, and The American Legion. The hearing was titled: “VA’s Development and Implementation of Policy Initiatives.”
“Our Veterans should be able to be confident in the VA, and know they can get their services along with the information and assistance they might need,” continued Congresswoman Amata. “I appreciate the assurances from VA leadership on efforts to address these needs, and I will continue to put the focus on American Samoa’s need for improved access, options and facilities in health care.”
American Samoa (center) and Guam pillars at National World War II Memorial on November 29, 2018.
VA-SBA Act: Also, this week, Congresswoman Amata cosponsored the bipartisan VA-SBA Act, H.R. 7169 (The Verification Alignment and Service-Disabled Business Adjustment Act), introduced this week with the support of Chairman Dr. Phil Roe of the Veterans Affairs Committee and Chairman Steve Chabot of the Small Business Committee. Congresswoman Amata serves on both of these Committees, and supports these reforms to protect Veterans. This bill would streamline federal involvement by putting responsibility on the SBA for certifying Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Businesses (SDVOSB), while preserving the VA’s Veterans First program.