House Passes O’Halleran-led Bill to Support Native Veterans
The US House of Representatives earlier this month passed H.R. 2878: a legislative package to support veterans which includes the Native VetSuccess at Tribal Colleges and Universities Pilot Program Act, bipartisan legislation introduced by Rep. Tom O’Halleran (D-Ariz.), Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.), Dusty Johnson (R-S.D.), and Tom Cole (R-Okla.) to better connect Native American veteran students and their families to VA services.
“As the representative for Arizona’s 1st Congressional District, a vast and diverse area that includes 12 Indian nations and tribes, I am committed to doing everything in my power to ensure that Native American veterans have access to the highest quality education available,” said O’Halleran.
“Today, I’m proud to see our bipartisan bill that will aid veterans and service members finishing their degrees, give them the tools they need to succeed afterward, and ensure they are able to access safe, quality living accommodations throughout, pass the House. I look forward to seeing it signed into law.”
H.R. 2878 provides Native veterans attending tribal colleges and universities with educational counseling and vocational support by expanding the VetSuccess on Campus (VSOC) program to schools. The VSOC program is not currently available to Native veterans attending school, even though Native Americans have the highest rates of military service among demographic groups.
H.R. 2878 also includes legislative proposals to:
Increase the number of veterans in high-tech 21st Century careers by providing an immediate injection of funds into the Veteran Technology Education Course (VET-TEC) program so that this successful initiative can serve more veterans during and following the pandemic;
Ensure veteran students completing their education are not unfairly stripped of their housing benefits in their final semester of school; and
Enable the VA to partner with non-profits, states, tribes, and localities to increase affordable housing inventory specifically for veterans to fight veteran homelessness.