Congressman Dan Kildee Introduces Comprehensive Bill Package to Help Service Members and Veterans
Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05) today introduced a comprehensive legislative package in Congress aimed at addressing many of the critical issues service members face, including combatting suicide rates, increasing financial literacy and ensuring affordable housing.
Congressman Kildee's bills address three key issues facing veterans:
Suicide Prevention: The Reducing Service Member and Veterans Suicide Act requires the Department of Defense (DoD) to identify units with disproportionate rates of suicide and provide additional mental health resources to personnel that were deployed in those units. It also requires the Veterans Administration to provide mental health outreach to veterans that served in those identified units.
Financial Literacy: The Transparency in Military Lending Act of 2017 assists active service members when they apply for loans by requiring a lender to provide information about the existence of potentially lower-cost loans and a variety of financial counseling services.
Affordable Housing: The Keep Student Veterans in Their Homes Act of 2017 would allow veterans to retain their Post-9/11 G.I. Bill housing allowances for up to four months if their university closes unexpectedly. On September 6, 2016, ITT Technical Institute closed its doors to students across the country and potentially left thousands of veterans using their Post-9/11 G.I. Bill housing allowances without a place to live. This legislation would ensure that veterans would continue to receive their housing benefits while they pursue new educational opportunities following their school's closure.
"Our active duty service members and veterans have made significant sacrifices and it is our duty as a nation, and my duty as a Congressman, to ensure that they get the assistance they need to support themselves and their families," Congressman Kildee said. "These are common sense ways our country can support our veterans when it comes to particular issues service members face, including reducing suicide rates, increasing financial literacy when it comes to loans, and ensuring affordable housing."
Congressman Kildee's legislation is his latest action in a series of efforts to provide veterans with the resources they need to be successful. Last year, Congressman Kildee introduced similar legislation to help veterans and students affected by school closures. Additionally, Congressman Kildee co-sponsored legislation that would increase cost-of-living adjustment rates for veterans with service-connected disabilities. This legislation recently passed the U.S. House of Representatives on May 23, 2017, and has been sent to the Senate for consideration.
To address service member and veteran suicide, Congressman Kildee previously introduced legislation similar to today's bill. In January, Congressman Kildee also championed the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act. The bill was signed into law by the President on February 12, 2016. It expands access to mental health services for our nation's veterans and increases the capacity and efficiency of VA care to deal with the more than one million veterans returning from war.