BRINDISI-SPONSORED AMENDMENTS TO EXPAND CHILD CARE FOR RURAL VETERANS PASS HOUSE
House Passes the Veterans’ Access to Child Care Act to Provide Free Child Care at VA Medical Centers and Clinics
Brindisi Offers Amendments to Support Rural Veterans, Ensure Bill Includes Community Based Outpatient Clinics
Brindisi: Lack of Child Care Shouldn’t Prevent Veterans from Receiving Care They’ve Earned
The House of Representatives today passed the Veterans’ Access to Child Care Act (H.R. 840), bipartisan legislation to provide free child care at VA medical centers and clinics so that veterans receiving recurring treatment have a dependable, cost-free child care option when they use VA health care.
The bill included an amendment introduced by Congressman Anthony Brindisi (NY-22) clarifying that Community Based Outpatient Clinics (CBOC) are included under the bill’s definition of “facilities of the Department” to ensure rural veterans who receive care from CBOCs are able to access VA child care assistance. There are three CBOCs in NY-22: Bainbridge, Binghamton, and Rome.
The bill also included an amendment co-authored by Brindisi and Rep. Jared Golden (ME-02) requiring the VA to report to Congress on child care access and eligibility challenges for veterans who reside in rural and highly rural areas. Over 50% of New York’s 22nd district is classified as rural.
“Veterans should never have to miss a doctor’s appointment because they don’t have affordable or reliable child care,” said Brindisi. “The Veterans’ Access to Child Care Act is a commonsense solution that removes this roadblock and ensures our nation’s veterans have access to the care they’ve earned, no matter where they live.
“Veterans in rural Upstate New York often face additional challenges -- that’s why I worked to ensure Community Based Outpatient Clinics across Upstate New York are included in the program,” continued Brindisi. “As a member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, I will continue working with both parties to ensure all rural veterans have access to the support, resources, and care they need.”
In 2010, Congress passed legislation directing the VA to create a pilot program to provide free child care at a small number of VA medical centers and clinics. The pilot program has been reauthorized multiple times; however, it is set to expire on October 1, 2019. H.R. 840 would make the VA’s Child Care Pilot Program permanent and expand it so that veterans receiving recurring treatment and who are primary caretakers, have a safe, reliable, and cost-free option for child care when they use VA healthcare.
Brindisi spoke on the House floor about his first amendment.
Brindisi’s remarks as prepared for delivery are below:
Madame Chair, I want to thank the Gentlewoman from California, the Chairwoman of the VA Health Subcommittee, for introducing this important bill.
Veterans should never have to miss a doctor’s appointment or medical treatment because they don’t have access to affordable child care. This bill is a commonsense solution that removes this roadblock and ensures our nation’s veterans have access to the care they’ve earned.
I am glad to see the House take up this issue.
My amendment would clarify that community-based outpatient clinics are included under the bill’s definition of “facilities of the Department” and ensure that veterans who receive their care from CBOCs are able to access VA child care assistance.
Many veterans in rural areas in my district and across the country do not have a full-service hospital nearby, and they rely on CBOCs to receive primary and mental health care.
It’s important to make clear that this child care benefit would include them, no matter how small or large their VA facility is.
As a new member of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, I will continue working to improve access to VA health care and benefits for veterans, including veterans living in rural communities.
I urge adoption of my amendment, I again thank the gentlewoman from California for introducing this bill, and I urge our colleagues on both sides of the aisle to pass the underlying legislation.
Thank you Madame Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.