Senators introduce Elizabeth Dole Act to help aging veterans

Published 5:33 pm Thursday, March 17, 2022

Sens. Jerry Moran (R-KS), Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Jon Tester (D-MT) of the U.S. Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs have introduced the Senate version of the Elizabeth Dole Act, which is meant to expand community-based services for aging and homebound veterans.

“Fittingly, this bill is a true reflection of Sen. Elizabeth Dole’s legacy,” said Steve Schwab, CEO of the Elizabeth Dole Foundation. “It helps uphold the promise our nation makes to the military families bearing the wounds and illnesses of war. It is precisely focused on providing solutions that will directly address the most common and persistent hardships of our veterans, their families and their caregivers. We applaud Sens. Moran, Hassan and Tester for bringing this transformative legislation to the Senate floor.”

On Wednesday, Schwab testified before the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs about the Elizabeth Dole Act, which is part of her passionate work on behalf of America’s hidden heroes.

Introduced by Reps. Julia Brownley (D-CA) and Jack Bergman (R-MI), the Elizabeth Dole Act reinvests in caregiver support at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, establishes a user-friendly resource center and expands VA Home-Based Community Services nationwide.

The bill provides greater access to resources and allows for caregivers and veterans to consider and apply for services they are eligible for more easily. It also commissions research to comprehensively study the VA’s capability to support the mental and emotional health of caregivers.

Key highlights from the hearing included:

  • Members of the committee and witnesses discussed the critical lifeline this legislation supplies. Bergman, the ranking member, said, “The bill aims for military families to maintain their dignity and independence during difficult times.”

  • “(The bill) is precisely focused on providing solutions,” Schwab said, “solutions that are worthy of bipartisan support and that will directly address the most common and persistent hardships of our veterans, their families and their caregivers.”

  • The hearing also included testimonies from Roscoe Butler, an associate legislative director for Paralyzed Veterans of America, and Anthony Lewis, associate national legislative director for Disabled American Veterans, whose organizations support the passing of the Act.

  • “The Elizabeth Dole Act is a result of unrelenting advocacy from veteran service organizations like the Elizabeth Dole Foundation, Paralyzed Veterans of America and Disabled American Veterans,” said Chairwoman Brownley.