Isakson: Help Us Pass This 'Down Payment' to Our Veterans

Urges Senate to approve veterans reform package to improve access to health care, disability, education, homelessness benefits

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, is urging his colleagues to pass urgent legislation that will help improve veterans’ access to health care, disability benefits, education and homelessness assistance, among other important benefits.

Shortly after the Jeff Miller and Richard Blumenthal Veterans Health Care and Benefits Improvement Act of 2016 (H.R.6416) was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday, Isakson delivered remarks on the Senate floor imploring “members of the United States Senate to help us pass this down payment on the promise and the debt that we owe to the veterans of the United States of America.”

“We’re a team of Americans, not Republican Americans or Democratic Americans, but committed Americans that want to see to it that our veterans get what was promised to them,” said Isakson during his remarks. “This bill addresses homelessness. It addresses [veterans’] health care issues. It addresses [research on] the possible passage of exposure to toxic waste…. The measure addresses the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims…by adding two judges in the appeals process and we need to do more to expedite the appeal process.”

“We’re going to work together to reach the dreams we all have to see to it that our veterans have seamless services and we pay back to them what we owe to them equal to what they sacrificed and pledged for us, their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor,”Isakson continued.

The Jeff Miller and Richard Blumenthal Veterans Health Care and Benefits Improvement Act of 2016 includes 76 bipartisan provisions that address a variety of areas in veterans’ services that are in need of reforms or improvements. It incorporates language from a number of previously introduced House and Senate bills, including several provisions from the Veterans First Act, which unanimously passed the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs in May 2016.

The measure is named after retiring chairman of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., as well as outgoing Senate VA committee ranking member, Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., in tribute to their years-long commitment to serving veterans in Congress.

Following Tuesday’s overwhelming House vote of 419-0, the measure now comes to the Senate for a vote.


The Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs is chaired by U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., in the 114th Congress.

Isakson is a veteran himself – having served in the Georgia Air National Guard from 1966-1972 – and has been a member of the Senate VA Committee since he joined the Senate in 2005. Isakson’s home state of Georgia is home to more than a dozen military installations representing each branch of the military as well as more than 750,000 veterans.