WASHINGTON, D.C. (NEXSTAR) – President Donald Trump signed what he calls “a historic bill” for veterans Wednesday afternoon at the American Legion’s national convention in Nevada.
President Trump received a standing ovation as he signed into law The Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act.
“No longer will veterans be kept waiting for years to get an answer to their appeals,” he said.
This is the fifth piece of legislation that Trump has signed into law that is designed specifically to help veterans — from the 21st Century GI Bill that expands college assistance for vets, to “the Accountability Act” that makes it easier to remove or demote VA employees who simply aren’t getting the job done.
Rebecca Coffman, with Concerned Veterans for America, said there has been real progress for veterans.
“Veterans should start to see some signs of improvement at the VA as a result of the actions the Trump administration is taking to help them, however, the fight is far from over,” she said.
Coffman said the next big issue is extending and expanding the Veterans Choice program, making sure veterans can choose their doctors and have easy access to local health care.
“There are too many veterans trapped in a failing system that doesn’t allow them to get the quality of care they need or the care they need in a timely fashion,” she said.
Veterans Affairs Secretary Dr. David shulkin said on Wednesday that giving vets more choice is his top legislative priority. He said there are too many rules and too much red tape.
“We are going to eliminate the 40-mile, 30-day requirement that just doesn’t make sense for someone who wants to get health care,” he said.
Secretary Shulkin says he hopes that Congress will pass a new choice law this fall.
He said he also wants to allow veterans to use walk in clinics, so they don’t have to drive 50 miles to get a flu shot or a chest x-ray or a lab test.