Since coming to Congress, Representative Gerlach has worked diligently to address the needs and provide the services that our veterans deserve. In 2003 he introduced legislation, H.R. 1516, to create a new veterans cemetery in southeast Pennsylvania. This bill was signed into law by the President on Veterans Day, November 11, 2003.
Representative Gerlach is also proud of the efforts of the entire Congress to assist veterans. Thanks to the actions of the 108th Congress, direct appropriations for veterans medical care increased by $2.8 billion to $26.7 billion in FY04, a 12 percent increase over FY03 funding. This follows a $2.6 billion (12 percent) increase for veterans medical care funding in FY03. Veterans medical care funding has now increased 25 percent in the past two years and has risen 54 percent over five years from $17.3 billion to $26.7 billion, an average of almost 11percent per year. Overall veterans funding will rise to $63.3 billion in FY04, a $5.6 billion increase compared to FY03 which was $57.6 billion; that’s a 10 percent increase in one year.
Additionally, Representative Gerlach strong supported the Defense Authorization bill that provided a historic breakthrough on “concurrent receipt” of benefits. Military retirees who were injured in combat, while training for combat, or who are 50 percent or more service-disabled, will, for the first time, be able to receive retirement benefits concurrently with veterans disability compensation. As a result, more than 250,000 disabled military retirees will receive $22 billion in additional retirement payments over the next ten years; $57 billion over the next 20 years. For a 100 percent service-connected disabled veteran eligible for military retirement benefits, this could mean up to $167,000 in additional benefit payments over the next ten years.
Representative Gerlach has also worked with his colleagues to strengthen programs that provide veterans with job training and homeownership opportunities as well as programs to eradicate homelessness among veterans.
Gerlach Again Calls on VA to Reconsider Location of SE PA Vet Cemetery
House Protects Veterans Health Care Programs
Rep. Gerlach joins in rejecting military draft legislation
Gerlach announces final passage of Veteran's Cemetery legislation
Congressman Gerlach's Letter to the VA