The House Armed Services Committee advanced a bill that would boost disability payments for medically retired veterans.
The bill, known as the Major Richard Star Act, could help around 50,000 medically retired veterans get increased benefits.
It would ensure that veterans who medically retire before serving 20 years would have full access to both VA disability benefits and military retirement pay.
Currently if a veteran served less than 20 years and has a disability rating of less than 50%, they will have their retirement pay reduced depending on the amount of disability pay they get.
Many veterans organizations have long fought for a solution to this big injustice that has widely impacted the veteran community.
The advancement of this bill is an important step in the right direction, however there are still hurdles it needs to pass to be put into law.
While it has broad support from both sides of the political aisle, questions remain about how it will be paid for.
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The Congressional Budget Office has estimated the legislation could cost an estimated $9.75 billion in what’s known as mandatory spending over the next decade.
Despite Wednesday’s breezy passage through the House Armed Services Committee, questions about how to pay for the bill remain, making its path to final passage unclear. Under House rules, increases to mandatory spending must be offset.
“Although I support this bill, I am disappointed the committee is being forced to act on it before a pay-for could be found. Moving a bill forward with mandatory spending that isn’t fully offset opens the bill up to a point of order against its consideration on the floor,” Rogers said. “Nevertheless, we will work with leadership and the VA committee to see if an offset can be found for this bill.”
Ultimately the advancement of the Major Richard Star Act is a promising step forward in the battle to get our nations veterans the full benefits they deserve. The hope is that lawmakers will find a way to come up with the money needed to get the bill signed into law.