VA OVERPAYMENT ACCOUNTABILITY ACT; Congressional Record Vol. 165, No. 181
(Extensions of Remarks - November 13, 2019)

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[Extensions of Remarks]
[Pages E1433-E1434]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




                   VA OVERPAYMENT ACCOUNTABILITY ACT

                                 ______
                                 

                               speech of

                          HON. J. FRENCH HILL

                              of arkansas

                    in the house of representatives

                       Tuesday, November 12, 2019

  Mr. HILL of Arkansas. Mr. Speaker, I thank my friend from Tennessee 
and my good friend from California for their leadership of our 
Veterans' Affairs Committee. They are a dynamic duo.
  Their visits to Little Rock, Arkansas, both as Chairman of the House 
Veterans Affairs Committee, gave local Arkansans a direct voice to 
leaders in Congress to discuss many of the issues they deal with on a 
daily basis.
  It was a pleasure to host them, and the accessibility they have shown 
to hear from people in Arkansas and across the Nation speaks to the 
type of leadership both provide atop the House Veterans Affairs 
Committee.
  I appreciate their kind words about Arkansas and my veterans team in 
the district, which works tirelessly to ensure the brave men and women 
who serve in our armed forces receive the benefits and care they 
deserve.
  I appreciate the opportunity to be on the floor to be in support of 
this list of good bills tonight.
  Mr. Speaker, I particularly want to thank my friend from New Jersey, 
Mr. Kim, for his hard work and collaboration on this important bill for 
our veterans.

[[Page E1434]]

  Mr. Speaker, in the last 5 years I have served in this House, I have 
had over 3,200 cases completed and closed for veterans in my district.
  As a former community banker, when I look at those cases and I listen 
to these stories, this too often is a challenge for our veterans. It is 
a crazy challenge. Mr. Speaker, that withholding a payment can have 
severe consequences for our brave veterans who are out there just doing 
their job, through no fault of their own and through a computer mess up 
or an IT problem, our veterans receive an overpayment and then suddenly 
get a letter a few weeks later saying, ``Oh, hey, we made a mistake. 
You owe us $5,000 back.''
  Well, the normal American, Mr. Speaker, doesn't have that kind of 
financial planning expertise, and relies on the quality of our VA 
services to not make mistakes like that.
  So, it is a pleasure to work with Mr. Kim on this measure to try to 
improve that situation and answer the IG's own report at the VA that 
this is a serious problem affecting over 1.5 million veterans.
  This bill tries to tackle this issue by improving Veterans 
Administration IT systems, which are often the cause of this challenge, 
and offers veterans that unknowingly are forced to go without their 
earned benefits for extended periods of time some recourse on being a 
victim of an overpayment and have their credit impaired.
  I am proud to represent veterans from Camp Robinson and Little Rock 
Air Force Base in our central Arkansas area. I am proud to work on 
something that rectifies a common problem across this country.
  Mr. Speaker, I thank my friend from New Jersey for his work and for 
the leadership of the committee for bringing this bill to the House 
floor.

                          ____________________