House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Holds Hearing on King’s Mobility Legislation
Congressman Steve King today released the following video of his appearance before the Veteran’s Affairs Committee, Subcommittee on Health. King was asked by the committee to testify this morning in support of legislation he has introduced which seeks to improve the quality of wheelchairs that are provided to veterans with service-connected disabilities through the Veterans Health Administration (VHA). King’s legislation is H.R. 1943, the “Restoring Maximum Mobility to Our Nation’s Veterans Act of 2017.” During his remarks, Congressman King recognized Sioux City’s Bud Day, a Medal of Honor recipient, and Jack Zimmerman, a disabled veteran who lost his legs to an improvised explosive device, as inspirations for his bill.
Complete Video of Congressman King’s Testimony can be seen: HERE.
Video of Congressman King citing Bud Day and Jack Zimmerman as inspirations for this legislation can be seen: HERE.
From King’s Submitted Testimony:
“In the aftermath of Iraq and Afghanistan, we have strived in Congress to halt veteran suicide. We have worked to ensure that every veteran has access to the health care and services they need. Sadly, the somber statistics demonstrate that we have far to go to adequately take care of our veterans. That’s why I champion H.R. 1943, which amends Section 1701 of Title 38 of the United Code to ensure wheelchairs provided to our veterans include ‘enhanced power wheelchairs, multi-environmental wheelchairs, track wheelchairs, stair-climbing wheelchairs, and other power-driven mobility devices.’ This legislation ensures that the Secretary of Veterans Affairs may provide a wheelchair to a veteran because the wheelchair restores an ability that relates exclusively to participation in a recreational activity.”
Under current law, the Veterans Health Administration does not allow a veteran with a service-connected disability to receive “motorized and power equipment or equipment for personal mobility intended solely for a recreational leisure activity” because the VHA wrongly presumes that such devices “do not typically support a rehabilitative role.”
The result of the existing policy is to deny wounded veterans access to medical equipment that would, if granted, allow them greater access to recreational activities such as hunting and fishing. Congressman King believes that the ability to undertake activities like these, to the fullest degree possible and even in the face of disability, are rehabilitative and are critical to ensuring our nation’s veterans are as healthy as possible in body, mind, emotions, and spirit. Our nation currently faces an epidemic of veteran suicides, and Congressman King believes H.R. 1943 helps promote the care and support that our nation’s veterans have earned.