Republican Congressman Ted Yoho has reintroduced a proposal that would make it accessible for congressional staffers to clear the U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs’ backlog on a voice vote. With the “Working to Integrate Networks Guaranteeing Member Access Now (WINGMAN) Act,” Yoho has already amassed more than 60 cosponsors.In 2016, when Yoho introduced the bill with then Democrat Congressman Patrick Murphy, the two Florida lawmakers sent a letter to then U.S. Veteran’s Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald calling for him to give congressional staffers’ read only access to benefit matters relating to the VA. The lawmakers argued that this would give congressional staffers more information, and it would also soften any frustrations constituents might have.
When reintroducing the bill, Yoho explained that “The interaction between congressional offices and the VA, on behalf of our nation’s veterans, should be seamless. Our veterans have answered the call to protect us and the freedoms we enjoy every day. It is only right that we do all we can to support and care for them in a timely manner. It is unacceptable that extended periods of time pass by before congressional offices are able to receive the files they’ve requested from the VA to help veterans. No service member should have to wait to receive- at the very least- information about the benefits they have more than earned. Our veterans and their families who have served in the defense of our country deserve a timely turnaround when filing their benefits claims.”
Yoho also added that he is “hopeful that members of the 116th Congress will prioritize reforming the veteran claims process and pass this commonsense bill, which has enjoyed strong bipartisan support in the past.”
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In addition, Yoho took time to thank his “colleagues for their support and for helping to enact changes that are so desperately needed to help our veterans and their families.”