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Bilirakis Bills Pass Veterans Affairs Committee

Gus Billirakis | 12th Congressional District | Politics

U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis said he has been “intricately involved” with negotiating several pieces of legislation aimed at improving the lives of veterans.

WASHINGTON, DC – As vice-chair of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Tarpon Springs, said has been intricately involved in negotiating several high profile pieces of legislation aimed at improving the lives of veterans.

This week (May 8), several of these bills passed favorably out of the VA committee.

Chief among them is a bill that, Bilirakis said, will rectify a decades-long injustice that has been perpetrated against Blue Water Navy veterans. This small group of veterans has been excluded from presumptive status for Agent Orange exposure which has kept them from receiving the medical care and benefits that they have earned and rightfully deserve. This situation has caused great hardship for these veterans and their families, many of whom live in Bilirakis’s district, which is why, he said, he has fought tirelessly for a solution.

“This was an important and long over-due step forward in the fight to get justice for these heroes,” Bilirakis said. “But we are not finished. I will continue to shepherd this bill throughout the remainder of the legislative process.”

The committee also passed legislation that, Bilirakis said, made significant improvements to the Choice program, empowering veterans with the opportunity to seek private care within their community when the VA is unable to meet their needs in a timely manner.

“I believe in a strong VA system of care,” Bilirakis said. “However, veterans deserve the chance to choose an alternative when the VA is not meeting their needs.”

Additionally, the committee advanced Bilirakis’s SITREP bill that keeps veterans from being penalized when their school receives a late payment from the VA when processing their GI benefits.

“Veterans should not suffer due to bureaucratic red tape,” Bilirakis said.

Finally, the committee approved legislation that makes significant improvements to and expands eligibility for the VA Caregiver Support Program.

“Today was a good day for our nation’s heroes. All of these initiatives will help improve the lives of those who have sacrificed so much on behalf of our country,” Bilirakis said.

Bilirakis represents Florida District 12 in the U.S. House of Representatives. CD 12 includes the northern portion of Pinellas County, all of Pasco County, and a portion of Hillsborough County.

For information about Bilirakis, go to bilirakis.house.gov.

Gus Bilirakis | Veterans | Politics | Tampabay News

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Bilirakis Bills Pass Veterans Affairs Committee
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Bilirakis Bills Pass Veterans Affairs Committee
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U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis said he has been "intricately involved" with negotiating several pieces of legislation aimed at improving the lives of veterans.
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TB Reporter
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