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house Bill H.R. 3224

Should VA Services for Women Veterans be Expanded?

Argument in favor

Women have served in the American armed services since the Revolutionary War, but the quality of care they receive from the VA isn’t commensurate with their service to the country. Improving VA services to ensure that women veterans receive appropriate, high-quality care from the VA is an important way to thank these women for their service and ensure their long-term health.

jimK's Opinion
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11/13/2019
Yes, VA services should serve the needs of all veterans equitably. Women’s medical needs are, in many instances, different than the medical needs of men. Those needs should be fully accommodated as should be the special needs of any veteran.
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Celiaann's Opinion
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11/12/2019
There is a well known complication for women in the military Military Sexual Trauma! These women are affected for the rest of their lives! They deserve to have expanded support and resources!
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Joan's Opinion
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11/13/2019
Female veterans and service members should have medical care that is appropriate to the needs of women. I can't believe this is even a question.
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Argument opposed

This bill is being rammed through by the Democratic majority in the House without contributions from Republican committee members, despite minority members’ attempts to contribute to debate in late October 2019. The process by which this bill was passed by the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee violated committee norms so it shouldn’t be rewarded with a House vote.

jayar's Opinion
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11/13/2019
They should get the exact same benefits as male veterans, no more, no less.
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Joan's Opinion
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11/12/2019
Sounds like congress could do better because both sides need to contribute more actions in the bill.
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Just.Dave's Opinion
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11/13/2019
Whatever services are provided for men are fine. What? I thought women could do anything men could do... It's sexist to say they need special treatment from the VA, isn't it? Maybe the Republicans should take a look at it to make sure you libs leave out your sexist propaganda.
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on Veterans' Affairs
  • The house Passed November 12th, 2019
    Roll Call Vote 399 Yea / 11 Nay
      house Committees
      Health
      Committee on Veterans' Affairs
    IntroducedJune 12th, 2019

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What is House Bill H.R. 3224?

This bill would increase women veterans’ access to Dept. of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical care, such as the availability of gender-specific primary care services, PTSD counseling, expanded healthcare for newborns, and more. A breakdown of the bill’s various provisions can be found below.

Specifically, this bill would: 

  • Expand gender-specific primary care services for female veterans and ensure that they’re available at every VA medical center and community-based outpatient clinic;
  • Expand military sexual trauma counseling to members of the Reserve and National Guard;
  • Expand and make permanent a VA pilot program providing counseling in retreat settings to veterans and their families coping with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other wounds of war. 
  • Increase the amount of healthcare provided to newborn children;
  • Pay for newborn children’s emergency transportation to receive neonatal care;
  • Establish at least $20 million in grants for organizations focused on providing assistance to women veterans and their families; 
  • Require the VA Secretary to carry out a program to assist veterans who have experienced, or are experiencing, intimate partner violence or sexual assault and a program to help such servicememberse access VA benefits; 
  • Establish a partnership between the VA Secretary and at least one nongovernmental organization to provide legal services to women veterans.

It would also require the VA Secretary to conduct a study to assess extended hours of care. The study would investigate:

  • Extended hours as a means of reducing barriers to care;
  • The need for extended hours, based on interviews with women veterans and employees; and
  • Best practices for and resources required to implement extended hours.

This bill would also require the VA Secretary to establish a comprehensive policy to end harassment and sexual assault, including gender-based harassment, at VA facilities. The VA Secretary would also be required to conduct a study of barriers to VA health care for women veterans. Additionally, the VA Secretary would be required to publish a report regarding veterans who receive benefits, including through the Transition Assistance Program, identifying any disparities in the use of benefits, analyzing the causes of any disparities identified, and proposing recommendations to address disparities identified. 

Finally, the VA Secretary would be required to conduct a national baseline study on sexual assault and intimate partner violence among veterans, their spouses, and their intimate partners. This would include establishing a national task force, in consultation with the Attorney General and Secretary of Health and Human Services, to develop comprehensive national programs that include integrating VA facilities. The task force would consult with representatives from at least three national organizations and at least three state coalitions to: review existing VA policies, develop a national program to address intimate partner violence, make recommendations regarding the feasibility of providing direct services for veterans in response to sexual assault, and more.

Impact

Veterans; women veterans; VA; VA services for women veterans; non-governmental organizations that serve women veterans; VA medical centers; VA Secretary; and HHS Secretary.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 3224

$322.00 Million
The CBO estimates that this bill would cost $322 million over the 2020-2024 period.

More Information

In-DepthSponsoring Rep. Julia Brownley (D-CA), chair of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee task force on women veterans, introduced this bill to address inequities and barriers women veterans face when attempting to access VA care and benefits. After this bill passed the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, Rep. Brownley said: 

“Currently, women veterans comprise the fastest growing demographic within the veteran community, yet their invaluable service is often overlooked and forgotten, leading these women to feel invisible. The Deborah Sampson Act recognizes and honors women veterans by ensuring inclusivity and equitable access to resources, benefits, and services… The Deborah Sampson Act will build on the work that Congress has done since our nation’s founding to recognize women in the military. Our women veterans deserve nothing less. By moving this bill forward, we can send the message to America’s women veterans that ‘we see you, and we thank you for your selfless service.’”

House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Mark Takano (D-CA) adds

“I fully support Congresswoman Brownley’s bill- a culmination of her work and leadership under this Committee’s Women Veterans Task Force. Deborah Sampson was one of the first women to earn a full military pension after she disguised herself as a man and served in the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War. The Deborah Sampson Act honors the tradition of women’s military service by expanding and improving VA’s healthcare and benefits specifically for women veterans.”

While military sexual trauma (MST) and sexual harassment in VA facilities are often considered nonpartisan issues in Congress, this bill’s October 29 hearing led to Republican members walking out. When Republican lawmakers attempted to add amendments to this bill, including one related to gun rights for veterans, Rep. Takano decried their amendments as “partisan” and “toxic” and stopped debate. This led to Repbulican lawmakers walking out. 

Rep. Phil Roe (R-TN) said the walkout was a direct response to Rep. Takano stopping debate

"I've been here 11 years in this committee which is the most bipartisan committee in Congress. We took pride in that. I have never seen this type of behavior since I have been here in this committee. We've never suppressed the debate. We've always allowed the debate. ... That's how our country works ... I'm embarrassed by what this committee has become." 

Rep. Nel Dunn (R-FL) linked the conflict to partisan fights over impeachment proceedings. He concluded, “[t]he rule of law is leaving the House.”

Afterward, Rep. Takano said in a statement

“Instead of bringing forth meaningful, productive additions to legislation that will improve the lives of women veterans, they added toxic, partisan amendments — none of which worked to address how women veterans receive care."

In a tweet after the walkout, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said, “Today’s poison amendments and GOP walkout are a shame.”

This legislation passed the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee by voice vote with the support of 29 bipartisan cosponsors, including 28 Democrats and one Republican.


Of NoteAlthough women have served in every American conflict since the Revolutionary War and are currently the fastest-growing demographic in both the military and veteran populations, they are still often treated as second-class servicemembers and veterans. Deficiencies in the VA’s basic care offerings for women veterans (for example, the VA doesn't offer mammography) are symptomatic of this problem. 

The House Veterans’ Affairs Committee’s Women Veterans Task Force has identified systemic deficiencies for women veterans seeking health care through the VA, including:

  • Longer wait times;
  • Sexual harassment by fellow veterans;
  • Staffing shortages; and
  • Facilities that don’t meet basic environment-of-care standards.

This legislation is named after Deborah Sampson Gannett, a Revolutionary war veteran who served in the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War. She was awarded a full military pension for her service.


Media:

Summary by Lorelei Yang

(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / SDI Productions)

AKA

Deborah Sampson Act

Official Title

To amend title 38, United States Code, to provide for increased access to Department of Veterans Affairs medical care for women veterans.

    Yes, VA services should serve the needs of all veterans equitably. Women’s medical needs are, in many instances, different than the medical needs of men. Those needs should be fully accommodated as should be the special needs of any veteran.
    Like (66)
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    They should get the exact same benefits as male veterans, no more, no less.
    Like (14)
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    There is a well known complication for women in the military Military Sexual Trauma! These women are affected for the rest of their lives! They deserve to have expanded support and resources!
    Like (40)
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    Female veterans and service members should have medical care that is appropriate to the needs of women. I can't believe this is even a question.
    Like (24)
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    Yes, women have different needs for many medical services. They should be supported as their male counterparts are. But as I write this, I am reminded that we really need to improve the service access and delivery for all of our military. Again, let’s solve the whole problem.
    Like (13)
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    They should be of equal services to all parties.
    Like (12)
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    Male and female soldiers should receive medical attention appropriate to them. Men don’t have babies, so clearly the medical care cannot be equivalent.
    Like (11)
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    Stop sending them if you’re not taking care of them
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    We should honor our veterans and this who serve .
    Like (10)
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    Are women service people are every bit as valuable as the man and should be treated equally
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    The problem is the bad care provided all our service members by the VA! It’s obvious that gender needs are different and must be tailored accordingly.
    Like (9)
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    How one party defines winning: trump complains that witnesses all speak from 2nd and 3rd hand knowledge yet ordered Mulvaney not to testify. Laura Cooper testified that the Pentagon sought clarification from the trump administration about the hold up of the Ukraine aide and received none. A second person has said they reported sexual misconduct involving a former doctor who’s been accused of sexually abusing nearly 300 men over a 17-year period to Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and his staff felt they would not get the millions of dollars in aid money without publicly committing to launch the investigations Trump wanted. Senior trump administration officials considered resigning en masse in a ‘midnight self massacre’. State Department official says Giuliani was engaged in a campaign ‘full of lies and incorrect information’ about former ambassador. trump to pay $2 million for charity foundation misuse. trump wanted attorney general Barr to hold a news conference saying the president broke no laws on Ukraine call. White House official who heard trumps call with Ukraine president was told to keep quite. White House lawyer moved transcript of trump call to classified server after Ukraine adviser raised alarms. He has politicized our national security and has chosen Putin and other dictators over our own congress and security agencies. “I stated to Amb. Sondland that his statements were inappropriate, that the request to investigate Biden and his son had nothing to do with national security, and that such investigations were not something the NSC was going to get involved in or push,” Vindman adds. Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman, a top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council is testifying that trump demanded that a foreign government investigate an American citizen in exchange for Congresses approved aide. Just reached a $984 billion deficit while he lines his pockets with our tax dollars and foreign money at his resorts. $400 million in aide money was withheld from Ukraine back in August and Ukrainian leaders were told it was not red tape, that they needed to talk to Chief of Staff Mulvaney to resolve it and make a CNN statement about Biden in order to receive said aide. Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, is running a shadow foreign policy in Ukraine that circumvents U.S. officials and career diplomats in order to personally benefit President trump. Igor Fruman and Lev Parnas. Look them up. North Korea just tested a submarine launched missile. Deserted our Kurdish allies who have been fighting ISIS with us and now are being slaughtered. All because he has a tower in Istanbul. “The Americans betrayed us. We do not trust them anymore,” she added. These used to be our Kurdish allies that stood against ISIS. He is refusing to comply with the law. He is using the power of the presidency to withhold aide to one of the worst humanitarian crisis on the planet in exchange for political favors in order to sway the 20/20 election. He is acting like a criminal and threatening the life of the whistleblower. Mr. America first is sending troops to Saudi Arabia in support of a murdering dictator who spends millions at his hotels and resorts. Corey Lewandowski testified to congress that trump ordered him to obstruct justice. He is blocking information that pertains to the safety of our country from reaching congress. He has been threatening NOAA, a federal agency, with punishment if they do not disavow the truth and side with his lies. He invited the Taliban to Camp David the week of 9/11. He is a #PussyAssBitch He’s doctoring weather maps to try and prove he’s not an idiot. He has stayed at trump properties 293 days in 3 years, that’s our tax dollars going directly into his pocket. He took money from military daycares to pay for a wall that won’t work and no one wants. The Vice President and the Attorney General are both spending tax payer dollars on trump hotels, lining his pockets and currying his favor. He has privately instructed aides to skirt laws and regulations to get the wall built faster — and told them he will pardon them if necessary. He is pressuring a government agency to give a contract for his wall to a company whose chief executive is a donor to one of his top GOP allies in Congress. He took hundreds of millions from 127 different projects (FEMA being one of those) for his wall. He thinks nuking a hurricane is an idea. He is host the next G-7 at one of his own resorts. Again our tax dollars paying him directly. He taunted Iran by tweeting a classified image of an Iranian rocket that had exploded, thereby potentially compromising U.S. intelligence capabilities. His own company would save millions from the low interest rates he is demanding. He was going to give you tax cuts through your paychecks but decided not to. This year the richest of us payed less in taxes than the rest of us. He is destroying the economy with HIS trade war. We will soon average a 1.2 trillion deficit. He is repeating NRA talking points on background checks so expect no action taken regardless of the fact there has been 27 arrested over threats to commit mass attacks since El Paso( NOT TOLEDO). He made fun of republicans being afraid of the NRA and then caved after a 30 minute phone conversation with them. He bragged about indefinite child detention because it brings families together. He is refusing flue shots, that protect us all(google influenza pandemic), to immigrant children. He is attacking fellow congresswomen in really disgusting ways and making anti-Semitic remarks about Jews calling them disloyal. He thinks he’s the chosen one based on a conspiracy theory web sight. He has: Obstructed Justice. Is profiting from the Presidency. Colluded - They had a meeting & lied about it. Advocated political & police violence. Abuse of power. Engaging in reckless behavior. Persecuting political opponents. Attacking the free press. Violating immigrants Right to Due Process. Violating campaign finance laws. Racist: Speaks directly to and often tweeting straight from white supremacists. Calls them very fine people. Told fellow congresswomen to go back where they came from. Called them shit hole countries. Called them murderers and rapists. Calls her Pocahontas. Took out full page adds calling for the death of five innocent black kids in New York, 1989. Literally has said in an interview he has Hitlers speeches, My New Order in his nightstand. Our Money: Spent campaign finance money on hush payments to silence a porn star he had an affair with in order to hide it from the voters. Has spent over $100 million of our tax dollars playing golf at his own golf courses. Has never divested from companies and advertises and profits off the White House. Was going to cut Medicaid and Medicare funding to pay for the tax cuts he gave to the rich. Is actively destroying farmers lives with his trade wars that we all know only hurts our pockets not Chinas. Has made the lives of every truck driver across America as well as our own, more dangerous by removing safety regulations that only benefits the pockets of the CEOs of those companies. Has removed any and all protections we had in place from work safety, environment, women’s rights, LGBTQ rights and gives that power back to the CEOs, oil companies, men and old white men. Saudi funded lobbyist rented 500 rooms at a trump hotel he never divested from right after he became president. Wonder why? Sexual Predator: Accused by more than 20 women of molestation and rape. Bragged about said molestation on tape. Has cheated on all three wives (see above). Has made sexual remarks on camera about his daughter. Belittles and bully’s women. Not even sure he’s aware he has two daughters. Idiot: Has allowed North Korea to grow there nuclear weapons program. Took the side of Putin over America’s own security agencies on the national stage. Lacks the intelligence and facts needed to communicate on a global level much less national one. Makes policy decisions based on FOX media. Lies when speaks. Doesn’t believe in science and quite often displays his ignorance of it. Russia: Lied about meetings with Russians. Lied about a trump tower Moscow. Personal attorney Michael Cohen (same guy who broke campaign finance laws under trumps direction) had contacts with russian officials. National Security aide Flynn resigned over Russian contacts. Jeff Sessions recused himself because of Russian contacts. Manafort resigned because of Russian contacts. Campaign foreign policy adviser Papadopoulos met with Russians then bragged about it to Australians who then turned that info over to our FBI. Sixteen campaign officials had contacts with Russia and at least nine others new about it. Russian mobster lived in trump tower. trump casino was flagged 106 times for lax money laundering standards and same Russian frequently stayed at trump casino. Has been selling real estate to Russians for years. It really is surprising how many connections to Russians this man has. Rick Scott, Marco Rubio, Bill Posey You are my representatives. OLC policy: The indictment or criminal prosecution of a crime sitting President would unconstitutionally undermine the capacity of the executive branch to perform its constitutionally assigned functions. It’s time to do your job. You swore an oath to this country, it’s people and me to uphold the constitution. The president has never upheld that oath. How do you want to be remembered?
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    I believe this is a good bill and is goung to provied help to our amazing vets
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    Sounds like congress could do better because both sides need to contribute more actions in the bill.
    Like (6)
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    Yes, women veterans have an added reason for PTSD and that is probable sexual harassment or even assault. A woman in the military, or any historical male career, has to be exceptional in her field.
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    Regardless of how this bill was brought to a vote is it a good and necessary bill. Republicans need to get behind the bill and not penalize veterans because of the process. They are two separate issues and veterans shouldn't be put in the middle of partisan squabbles.
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    A veteran is a veteran.
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    Thank you for this vote!
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    Women's medical needs are different than men's. There is no reason not give female service people adequate healthcare.
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    Pets and Vets is a win win in my book
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