November 13, 2019 - Issue: Vol. 165, No. 181 — Daily Edition116th Congress (2019 - 2020) - 1st Session
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. ____________________