By Staff Reports
(Victor Valley)– Rep. Paul Cook (R-Yucca Valley) today had two bills pass out of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs by unanimous votes. The bills will be considered on the floor of the House after summer recess.
Cook’s “Prioritizing Urgent Claims for Veterans Act” was passed as part of an omnibus bill sponsored by the Chairman of the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. The act requires the Department of Veterans’ Affairs to give priority status to those veterans who file claims and meet one of the following criteria: 1) have attained the age of 70; 2) are terminally ill; 3) have a life-threatening illness; 4) are former POWs; 5) are seriously or very seriously injured; or 6) have claims that are being reviewed again in relation to a previously denied claim relating to military sexual trauma.
Said Cook, “These veterans are our heroes and the claims backlog at the VA is doing them a terrible disservice. This bill makes sure that veterans in need get the care they deserve.”
Cook’s “Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program (HVRP) Reauthorization Act” was passed as part of an omnibus bill sponsored by the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity. The bill reauthorizes a program that offers grants to organizations that assist veterans with job training and placement. The Government Accountability Office found that 63 percent of homeless veterans enrolled in HVRP programs were able to find employment.
Said Cook, “The sad reality is that many of the men and women living on the streets are veterans. The programs funded by this bill have been helping veterans help themselves out of homelessness for decades, and it’s imperative that we continue to fund this program. Our veterans served us bravely and we should give them a chance to get to a place where they can support themselves.
A member of the House Armed Services, Veterans’ Affairs, and Foreign Affairs Committees, Cook is a former educator who served as an infantry officer and retired as a Colonel after 26 years in the U.S. Marine Corps. He was awarded the Bronze Star medal with valor device and two Purple Hearts for actions in combat.