the WHITE HOUSEPresident Donald J. Trump

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The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

WTAS: Praise for President Trump signing The Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act of 2017

Secretary of Veterans Affairs Dr. David Shulkin: “Today’s appeals legislation was last updated in the 1930s. The President’s signature today will help thousands of Veterans receive timely action on their appeals. We have to do better and get faster decisions for our Veterans.”

Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA): “For far too long, our veterans have faced unacceptable delays in their claims appeals. With this legislation, we’re going to reduce the time it takes for our veterans to get a decision and increase the opportunity for them to receive their just benefits. I am pleased that this legislation moved quickly to reach the president’s desk and to be signed into law.”

Chairman of the Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs Mike Bost (R-IL): “This new law is vitally important for America’s heroes and their families. Too many veterans are faced with intolerable delays during the VA’s benefits claims appeal process. By modernizing the system, we can now ensure they get the help they need in a more efficient and effective manner. I thank my colleagues in Congress - both Republican and Democrat – for working together across the aisle to help our nation’s heroes. I also want to thank President Trump for signing this legislation into law and prioritizing veterans’ issues.”

Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Phil Roe (R-TN): “For far too long, veterans with pending appeals on their disability claims have been stuck in an outdated and cumbersome process. In the last two fiscal years, the number of pending appeals increased almost 20 percent, meaning nearly half a million veterans are in limbo waiting for a decision on their appeal. This is absolutely unacceptable, which is why the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, led by Subcommittee Chairman Bost, came together to move legislation that will modernize the appeals process. In keeping with the committee’s tradition of bipartisanship, the Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act of 2017 was cosponsored by every single member of the committee. This new law will create three lanes for appeals claims which will undoubtedly speed up the appeals process and give veterans the certainty they deserve. I thank President Trump for signing this important legislation into law and commend my colleagues on the committee for their leadership on this bill, especially DAMA Subcommittee Chairman Bost and Subcommittee Ranking Member Esty.”

The American Legion: “Today's signing is a major victory for America's veterans. I can think of no better place for the president to sign this bill than at the national convention of America's largest and most influential veterans service organization. The legislation is a simple, fair and appropriate way to ensure that our nation's veterans — and their families — receive their earned benefits in a timely and efficient manner.”

Paralyzed Veterans of America: “The Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Law represents a major step toward ensuring justice for the veterans, dependents and survivors who believe in their entitlement to a denied benefit. These people aren't asking for a handout; they simply want fairness and timely review when they file appeals. Paralyzed Veterans of America fights on behalf of the most catastrophically disabled veterans with the most complex claims in the system. Our unrivaled expertise is often challenged by a labyrinthine, protracted review process where a growing backlog, coupled with inconsistent and arbitrary decisions, hurt those who rate the benefits they're pursuing. For those appellants who choose to file without an accredited representative, it's nearly impossible to get a fair decision. We commend the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for hearing our concerns and working with us to preserve due process and develop new and improved standards. This new law is a culmination of those efforts. It is also a significant win for President Trump and VA Secretary Shulkin, both of whom are keeping their promise to veterans with the passage of this law.”

Veterans of Foreign Wars: “Today’s signing is the culmination of more than a year’s work by the VFW and other partner organizations with Congress and the VA to build consensus on how to better help veterans access their benefits. Under the old system, appeals could take up to five years or longer to adjudicate, and veterans had no way out. Maintaining the status quo was unacceptable, so the VFW and our partners acted with a unified voice. As a former veterans’ service officer myself, I know first-hand that many of the veterans the VFW helps every day to access their earned benefits will be better served under this new framework. We look forward to working with the Department of Veterans Affairs to make sure this new framework results in timely, understandable and accurate benefits decisions for veterans. Ending sequestration and fixing the VA are the VFW’s top two legislative initiatives. The passage of all three bills are great leaps toward fixing the VA and restoring the faith of veterans in their VA — all thanks to a united Congress and a new president who vowed during the campaign trail that he would take care of veterans, service members and their families, and who has so far been true in both word and deed.”

Disabled American Veterans: “For far too long, veterans have faced unnecessary and unacceptable delays within the current VA disability appeals system, on average taking between three to five years—sometimes longer—to complete. Passage of the Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act of 2017 into law today marks an important step forward in creating a more timely and accurate system for processing veterans’ appeals.”

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America: “Today, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, the leading voice of the Post-9/11 generation of veterans, applauded the President’s signing of the VA Appeals Modernization Act of 2017 (H.R. 2288) into law. This long awaited improvement to the appeals system will make the process more efficient and help prevent a VA claims backlog, which for years forced veterans to delay critical health care or pay for care themselves, causing financial distress.”

House Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rogers (R-WA): “The VA has one mission: to serve our veterans. Part of rolling out the red carpet for our heroes is ensuring that they don’t get caught in a benefits claims backlog. With thousands of veterans waiting for decisions, the reforms in Rep. Bost and Sen. Isakson’s bill are long overdue and much-needed. Thanks to their hard work and President Trump’s continued commitment to our veterans, the VA will soon be one step closer to being reconnected with its mission.”

Rep. Dina Titus (D-NV): “Having led the effort to reform the VA appeals process for more than four years, I am pleased that this legislation I introduced last year will finally become law. To develop this new system, I held hearings and convened a working group consisting of the VA, VSOs, and other experts to modernize a process that has not been updated since the 1980s. What the president signed today is a result of hard work, collaboration, cooperation, and creativity to fix a snarled system that will improve the lives of veterans. Now we must work to ensure that it is quickly and carefully implemented by the VA and the VSOs.”

Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-ND): “Our veterans deserve the same access and quality of care that everyone else receives in this country. Unfortunately, with the massive backlog of appeals at the VA, they are not receiving the care we promised them. With President Trump’s signing the Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act today, the half million veterans who are still waiting for a resolution regarding their VA benefits will finally get a response in a timely manner. I applaud the President for making this a priority.”