WASHINGTON D.C. – Today, Rep. Phil Roe, M.D. (R-Tenn.), Ranking Member of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, released the following statement after the House passed H.R. 840, the bipartisan Veterans' Access to Child Care Act of 2019:
"I have always been an advocate for reducing barriers to care for our veterans, as it is imperative that they are able to receive care in the most effective and timely manner - especially mental health care," said Roe. "As a father and grandfather, I am well aware of the difficulty of finding affordable and convenient child care and the additional burdens that result from a failure to find such care. That is why I am pleased that the House passed the Veterans' Access to Child Care Act of 2019. This legislation would give VA the authority to provide child care to certain veterans who are receiving mental health care or other intensive health care services and is almost identical to a bill that passed the House in 2017 during the 115th Congress.
"While I support this bill and the need to provide child care for veterans, I am concerned the legislation does not include any effort at fiscal responsibility, on which the Democrats wouldn’t allow a debate. The Rules Committee did not allow an amendment from my colleague Rep. Gus Bilirakis that passed the House unanimously as part of this bill in the last Congress. This comes down to how we spend taxpayer dollars, which is not something I take lightly. This action of simply tossing the problem aside and leaving it for the appropriators to deal with is unwise and will have long-term ramifications for other VA programs if we do not tread carefully.
"Despite my stated concern, the underlying intentions of the legislation are good and I hope to see it become law.”
Note: The Veterans' Access to Child Care Act, introduced by Rep. Julia Brownley, would make VA’s pilot program for child care a permanent program at VA for veterans who are receiving regular mental health services and other intensive health care services from VA. Click here for more information. Read the bill here.