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Schrader Votes in Favor of VA Appeals Reform

Today, the House voted 310-116 to pass H.R. 5620, the VA Accountability First and Appeals Modernization Act of 2016. This bill addresses the VA’s outdated and broken benefits appeals process for veterans. An amendment to the bill, offered by Congressman Tim Walz (D-MN-1), would strip controversial provisions from the bill.

“While I am opposed, as evidenced by my vote on the Walz Amendment, to sections of H.R. 5620 which go too far in reducing employment protections for rank and file VA employees, the current appeals process is failing our veterans. Right now, a veteran is forced to wait an average of three years for a decision on his or her appeal, with over 450,000 appeals currently pending. I am hopeful that by taking action now, rank and file employment protections can be fixed in the Senate, and the bill will move to the President by the end of the year. While not perfect, this bill offers the only hope of reforming this outdated process now.”

Without changes to the current appeals process, the VA has projected that the number of pending appeals will reach 2.7 million over the next decade. Legislators on both sides of the aisle, along with the President, all agree that this broken system is in desperate need of fixing.