Rep. Maxine Waters Introduces Legislation to Protect Veterans from Mental Health Dangers, Predatory For-Profit Colleges, and Dilapidated Service Centers
WASHINGTON – Today, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (CA-43), Ranking Member of the Committee on Financial Services, introduced the Veteran Mental Health Defense Act, the Ensuring Quality Education for Veterans Act, and the Upgrade Veteran Service Facilities Act. These three pieces of legislation address important issues and needs that greatly impact the lives of service members and their families.
The Veteran Mental Health Defense Act will prioritize medical professionals and medical students with training and skills to treat veterans with PTSD and traumatic brain injury for acceptance into the National Health Service Corps, a program which currently enlists over 10,000 medical professionals and students that deliver much needed healthcare all over the country. The legislation will also help place professionals in areas that are facing healthcare shortages.
“Veterans serve this country valiantly and stand in harm’s way to ensure that our freedoms are protected. Their sacrifices and experiences on the battlefield can have serious effects on their mental health and therefore, I am determined to ensure that their mental health care is a priority. We need to pass this legislation so more service members will have access to care and fewer service members will succumb to depression and PTSD,” said Congresswoman Waters.
Congresswoman Waters also reintroduced the Ensuring Quality Education for Veterans Act to close a loophole that currently incentivizes for-profit colleges to take advantage of veteran students. The Higher Education Act of 1965 requires for-profit colleges to abide by the 90/10 rule, which means ninety percent of revenue comes from federal funding, while the other ten percent must come from non-federal resources. Currently, G.I. bill benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs and Tuition do not count under the 90 percent category of federal funding. Instead, the money is considered earned benefits. Therefore, some for-profit schools take advantage of veterans to line the pockets of their shareholders and to profit off their hard-earned GI benefits.
“My bill would protect our veterans, military-personnel, their families and tax-payers from for-profit institutions cashing in on benefits they earn while serving the country,” Congresswoman Waters explained.
Finally, Congresswoman Waters introduced the Upgrade Veteran Service Facilities Act that gives discretion to the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to create grants to remodel and repair community centers, clinics and hospitals for veterans and their families.
“Veterans should not have to come home to decrepit, run-down facilities that are intended to honor them,” said Congresswoman Waters. “My bill will give administrators of veteran facilities the opportunity to update their spaces in a way that befits our service members and their needs. My goal is to protect veterans and provide them with superior services and facilities that they deserve.”