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Washington, DC – Congressman Robert Hurt (R-Virginia) released the following statement after voting in favor of numerous pieces of legislation aimed to aid our veterans, including H.R. 2189, to Establish a Commission or Task Force to Evaluate the Backlog of Disability Claims of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA):

“This legislation is an important step in addressing the unreasonable backlog of claims we now have with the Department of Veterans Affairs. Today, the backlog of veterans disability claims stands at approximately 410,000 and the average waiting period at the regional VA office in Roanoke is 448 days. Not only is this unacceptable, it is shameful.

“Veterans in the Fifth District and across the country have made incredible sacrifices on behalf of our freedom and our country. It is crucial that we address this backlog of disability claims – our veterans should never be forced to wait over 400 days for the medical benefits they deserve.

“I am encouraged by the passage of H.R. 2189 last night, and it is my sincere hope that it will move us closer to providing a solution to this grave issue facing the brave men and women who have fought for our country.”

Background:

H.R. 2189 directs the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to commission a task force to assess the backlog of disability claims with the VA. In addition to H.R. 2189, the House also passed last night:

• H.R. 1742, Vulnerable Veterans Housing Reform Act of 2013, which will help reduce veteran homelessness by reforming how the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) provides housing assistance for disabled veterans.

• H.R. 2481, Veterans Economic Opportunity Act of 2013, which establishes the Veterans Economic Opportunity Administration, which would be responsible for programs providing assistance related to economic opportunity to veterans.

• H.R. 2011, Veterans Advisory Committee on Education Improvement Act, which provides for a two-year extension of the Veterans’ Advisory Committee on Education through December 31, 2015.