By Staff Reports
(Victor Valley)– Rep. Paul Cook (R-Yucca Valley) today applauded the passage of two bills by the U.S. House of Representatives: H.R. 2189 and H.R. 2481. These two bills include provisions that Cook introduced and championed as standalone bills earlier this year.
H.R. 2481 includes Cook’s “Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program (HVRP) Reauthorization Act,” which 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. H.R. 2481 passed the House unanimously by voice vote.
Said Cook, “The sad reality is that many of the men and women living on the streets are veterans. This bill will help veterans help themselves out of homelessness, and it’s been doing so for decades. It makes simple economic sense to continue this program. Our veterans served us bravely, and we should give them a chance to get to a place where they can support themselves.”
Included in H.R. 2189 was Cook’s “Prioritizing Urgent Claims for Veterans Act.” 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) Veterans of the age 70 or over; (2) Veterans who are terminally ill; (3) Veterans with life-threatening illnesses; (4) Homeless veterans; (5) Veterans who were awarded the Medal of Honor; (6) Veterans who are former prisoners of war; (7) Veterans whose claims are being reviewed regarding a previously denied claim relating to military sexual trauma; (8) Veterans the Secretary of Veterans Affairs determines, on a case-by-case basis, are seriously or very seriously injured; and (9) Veterans the Secretary determines, on a case-by-case basis, should be given priority under this section. H.R. 2189 passed the House 404-1.
Cook, “These veterans are our heroes, and the claims backlog at the VA is a terrible disservice to them. This bill makes sure that veterans in need get the care they deserve.”
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.