March 16, 2005

Crapo: Veterans Health, Benefits Programs Strengthened

Two Senate measures cover wide array of programs

Washington, DC -The Senate passed two measures this week that improve and enhance a number of veteransâ?? benefits and health programs, Idaho Senator Mike Crapo announced today. H.R. 2297, the Veteranâ??s Benefits Act, and S. 1156, the Long-Term Care and Personnel Authorities Enhancement Act, passed by unanimous consent.â??These measures are part of our nationâ??s ongoing commitment to our veterans,â?? Crapo said. â??Idaho has over 135,000 veterans, 10% of the state population. Current events remind us of the sacrifice of our service men and women as they are deployed in dangerous situations. Just this week, we have received tragic news about one of Idahoâ??s own, Army Capt. James Shull, who was killed in Iraq. Another Idahoan, Spec. Paul Eshom, was involved in a serious helicopter collision. The citizens of our nation, and of Idaho, owe a great debt of gratitude to our veterans, and these measures are another way to properly recognize and reward their service.â??H.R. 2297 includes a variety of benefits for veterans and their families. Provisions in the bill would expand grants for house and car purchases by disabled veterans, allow veterans to enroll in entrepreneurial training programs and give veteran-owned businesses preference in certain contracts. S. 1156 focuses on health care issues, including: allowing the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to enter into agreements with Medicare and Medicaid to expand health care options for veterans, and allowing chiropractors to work in VA facilities.The House approved H.R. 2297 this week, and is also expected to approve S. 1156. The bills will then be sent to the President for his signature. # # #