Reps. Mike Levin, Greg Steube Announce Introduction of Bipartisan Legislation to Improve Access to Veterans’ Services
Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Representatives Mike Levin (D-CA) and Greg Steube (R-FL) announced the introduction of the Commitment to Veteran Support and Outreach Act, a bipartisan bill to authorize federal funding for county veterans service officers (CVSOs) who are often the best resource to help veterans and their families understand resources at their disposal, file benefit claims, and represent veterans in VA hearings. This bill will also strengthen county veterans service officers’ efforts to promote veterans’ health and wellness, prevent suicide, and conduct outreach.
The bill was also introduced in the Senate by Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Jon Tester (D-MT), and Steve Daines (R-MT).
“Veterans and their families deserve every opportunity to take advantage of the benefits and services they have earned,” said Rep. Levin. “We have a responsibility to ensure that veterans have easy access to those services, which is why we’re introducing bipartisan legislation to support the work of county veterans service officers who are on the ground assisting local veterans every day. I’m proud to introduce the CVSO Act with my colleague, Rep. Steube, and look forward to advancing this legislation through the House with bipartisan support.”
“I’m proud to support the Commitment to Veteran Support and Outreach Act to increase veteran access to essential services across America,” said Rep. Greg Steube. “As a veteran, I know the importance of access to resources for veterans and County Veteran Service Officers (CVSOs) are often the first point of contact for many veterans—especially in rural areas. This bill will allow for federal funding to support these CVSOs and ensure our veterans receive the support they need at home.”
“Counties provide much-needed services to millions of veterans and their families,” said National Association of Counties Executive Director Matthew Chase. “The Commitment to Veteran Support and Outreach Act will help us better connect veterans to key health, housing and career readiness resources. We applaud Representatives Mike Levin’s and Greg Steube’s bipartisan efforts to support county veterans service officers, and we look forward to working with Congress to better serve veterans in our communities.”
"County and State Veteran Advocates work pre dates the Department of Veterans Affairs, after all the veteran is a part of the community, and so are these agencies, this legislation has been a long time coming, and can be seen as the first step in assuring that the VA's primary resource partners are adequately funded,” said Herman Breuer, President of NACVSO.
The CVSO Act authorizes $50 million to be appropriated annually for Fiscal Years 2020-2024 for contracts and grants with states. These funds will help CVSOs continue serving veterans with the influx of benefit claims following the January 1, 2020 implementation of the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019. Grants may also be used to provide education and training to government employees to obtain accreditation from VA. States must submit a detailed plan for the use of funds.