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Lankford, Colleagues Introduce Comprehensive Veterans Benefits Package

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) today joined Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS), chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, to introduce the Veteran Benefits Enhancement and Expansion Act of 2020 to improve benefits for veterans in the areas of education, pensions, and survivor benefits, among others. This legislation is cosponsored by Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Steve Daines (R-MT), Susan Collins (R-ME), and John Boozman (R-AR). Companion legislation was introduced today by Representatives Phil Roe (R-TN), ranking member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee and Mike Bost (R-IL), ranking member of the Subcommittee on Disability Assistance & Memorial Affairs.

“Providing 21st-century benefits and services for our 21st-century warfighters is vital to ensuring we can attract and support the best candidates for the world’s greatest Armed Forces,” Lankford said. “Last year, I was proud to lead my colleagues to introduce a bill to ensure eligibility for the Fry Scholarship for surviving children and spouses of National Guard and Reservists who die as a result of their service or in between active status. I’m pleased the Veterans Benefits Enhancement and Expansion Act includes my proposal to codify our dedication to supporting our service members and their families who have sacrificed so much for our nation.”

“Our veterans have sacrificed much to protect the security of their fellow Americans, and it’s Congress’ responsibility to make certain these sacrifices do not go unrewarded,” Moran said. “I’m proud to introduce this legislation that will expand education benefits for service members and their families; improve veterans pension benefits; expand survivors benefits for the families of Medal of Honor recipients, our Guardsmen and Reservists; and enhance burial benefits for our service members and veterans. I appreciate my colleagues in the Senate and House for including their provisions in this legislation that will support our veterans and their families in the years to come.”

“Strengthening veterans benefits supports the men and women who served in uniform and honors our commitment to their service,” Boozman said. “I’m glad we can work together to introduce this bill that will expand services veterans have earned.”

“I’m glad that my bipartisan bill to protect Montana veterans and their families from pension poachers was included in this major veterans legislation,” Daines said. “This legislative package is about getting our Montana veterans and their families the help and support they need. We must get this done for the men and women who served in defense of our country. I look forward to getting this bill across the finish line.” 

“Veterans in Maine and throughout the country have sacrificed so much for our nation, and we owe it to them to provide the benefits they have earned through their service, particularly during the current public health and economic crisis,” Collins said. “This bipartisan bill would expand a wide array of benefits for veterans and their loved ones, including educational assistance and housing loan programs, as well as require the VA to strengthen its financial fraud response to scams.”

“We’ve made great bipartisan progress to reform the VA and honor our promises to the brave men and women who served our nation, but there is more work to be done,” Tillis said. “I’m proud to co-sponsor this legislation to improve education and survivor benefits for our veterans.”

“The Veteran Benefits Enhancement and Expansion Act of 2020 would make it easier than ever before for millions of veterans and their families to receive the benefits they have earned,” Roe said. “This bill is made up of a number of worthy proposals introduced by Senators and Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle to streamline access to education, burial, compensation, pension, and other benefits provided on behalf of a grateful nation. I am proud to join my friends Chairman Moran and DAMA Ranking Member Bost in introducing it today.”

“Making the transition to civilian life is difficult as it is, and trying to navigate the bureaucracy of the VA only makes it more challenging,” Bost said. “I’m proud to introduce this bicameral legislation alongside Chairman Moran and Ranking Member Roe to cut red tape for education, life insurance, and disability benefits and exams for our nation’s veterans. While we can never truly repay our veterans and their families for the sacrifices they make in defense of our nation and our freedoms, Congress must do all we can to ensure that they receive the benefits and care they have earned.”

CLICK HERE to read the section-by-section summary, and CLICK HERE for the full bill text.