September 25, 2015

Senate Passes Hirono Provisions To Renew Veterans Programs

Hirono Advocated To Reauthorize Programs That Help Homeless Veterans, Keep Manila VA Office Open

The United States Senate unanimously passed S. 2082, which extends a number of crucial health and benefit programs for veterans that are scheduled to expire on September 30. The legislation includes provisions authored by Senator Mazie K. Hirono to renew and extend seven programs that provide outreach and services to homeless veterans, and keep the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Regional Office in Manila, Philippines open for business.

“The Senate’s unanimous action is a key step to ensuring that critical veterans’ programs and offices will continue uninterrupted,” said Senator Hirono. “I’m proud to have worked with my Veterans Affairs Committee colleagues to ensure that legislation I authored to help hundreds of thousands of homeless veterans across the country each year, including hundreds in Hawaii, and keep the Manila VA Regional Office open was included in S. 2082. I urge my colleagues in the House of Representatives to follow the Senate’s lead, pass this bill, and send a strong statement that our commitment to veterans and their families doesn’t expire at the end of the government’s fiscal year.” 

The Keeping Our Commitment to Ending Veteran Homelessness Act (S. 2048) reauthorizes seven expiring VA and Department of Labor programs that helps homeless veterans find a permanent home, access health care, and receive job training. More than 600 veterans and their families in Hawaii currently benefit from the programs that will be reauthorized by the Hirono-Boozman bill. In the last fiscal year, Hawaii received more than $4 million from the expiring programs.

The Keeping Our Commitment to Overseas Veterans Act (S. 2062) extends the authority to operate the VA Regional Office in Manila, Philippines. The Manila VA Office serves around 15,000 VA beneficiaries residing in the Philippines and around 30,000 Social Security beneficiaries across the Asia-Pacific.

The National Coalition to End Veterans Homelessness supports Senator Hirono’s actions on these programs that would have expired on September 30. Senator Hirono’s provisions were included with other veterans’ programs that were also reauthorized. The legislation must now be approved by the U.S. House of Representatives in order to be sent to the President to be signed into law.