Congress has been highly active in the pursuit of excellence when it comes to better serving and supporting the veteran community throughout the past several years. Whether it is enacting widespread reforms to the Department of Veterans Affairs or launching new programs to help veterans with a range of unique needs, committees and subsets within the House of Representatives and the Senate are striving to regain the trust of service members, both active and retired. 

One of the centerpieces of this movement has been the Veterans First Act, which is currently making its way through the Senate and appears to be close to finalization and approval. This legislation is a big deal for the veteran community and the country at large, as it contains so many different statutes related to the services government agencies and others offer to service members, as well as how those departments operate and how they keep activities transparent. 

"The Senate is focused on the Veterans First Act."

Speeding up?
Leo Shane III, writing for Military Times, recently reported that the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee has been highly focused on the Veterans First Act, and is trying to push the legislation to a vote before the recess beginning in July. Unfortunately, he pointed out that the VFA had hit some roadblocks and fell far behind schedule with respect to a vote, but this latest push seems to have some legs thanks to a questionable decision from the VA.

According to the author, the VA stated that it would not be following the "fast-track firing rules" implemented two years ago, and that this announcement actually added a level of urgency that was seen both within and outside of the Veterans Affairs Committee. Champions of the legislation believe it will be one of the more progressive bills to pass in the context of veterans. 

"Three and a half weeks ago every member of our committee voted unanimously for the Veterans First bill," Senator Johnny Isakson of Georgia, who is the chairman of the Veterans Affairs Committee, explained, according to Shane. "Why? Because it first of all hits the heart and strikes the point we all know needs to be struck. Our veterans, who have served us, fought for us, risked their lives for us, deserve the respect, the treatment and benefits they were promised when they signed up for duty."

The author added that debates have been contentious, and that only 12 working days remain before the recess to get the vote completed and legislation into action. 

The Senate is working to pass the Veterans First Act before summer recess. The Senate is working to pass the Veterans First Act before summer recess.

Still a sign of progress
Many issues involved in the VA and other arms of the government that serve the military community have arisen in the past decades that have hindered the public's opinions toward these agencies, especially the sentiments of veterans. However, so long as this legislation gets passed in the near future, it will be a major win for the service member community, and the bill is believed to cover myriad areas that had led to outrage and dissatisfaction throughout the past several years.