Higgins Announces House Passage of Veterans Access to Child Care Act
Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) announced passage through the House of Representatives of H.R. 840, the Veterans Access to Child Care Act, by a vote of 400-9. The bill was introduced by Congresswoman Julia Brownley (CA-26) and Higgins with 20 cosponsors, and was referred to the full House after it passed in the Veterans Affairs Committee.
The legislation will make permanent and expand the popular Department of Veterans Affairs program that gives veterans access to free childcare during health and mental health appointments.
In Buffalo, “Kids Korner” has been a tremendous success, and last year more than 1,000 children visited Kids Korner while their parents or grandparents received medical care from the VA. Since its opening in 2011, the facility has served over 8,500 children of veterans. Previously, 1 in 10 veterans had reported having to cancel appointments due to a lack of child care.
(To access video of Rep. Higgins’ floor remarks, click above or go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NT7gXFSvRIE&feature=youtu.be)
Congressman Higgins said: “In 2011 the Buffalo VA Hospital was included in a pilot program providing veteran access to childcare while attending medical appointments. The program was a tremendous success in removing barriers to care. Approval of the Veterans Access to Child Care Act makes this program permanent and is a strong statement of support for our military families. I’m pleased to work with my colleague Congresswoman Brownley, a champion for our veterans, to make this happen.”
Higgins worked closely with Congresswoman Julia Brownley (CA-26), lead sponsor of the bill and a member of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs and Chair of its Subcommittee on Health, to advance the legislation.
“Keeping our promise to our nation’s veterans means not only providing the care our veterans need, but breaking down barriers to accessing that care,” said Congresswoman Brownley. “The lack of child care shouldn’t prevent veterans from receiving VA healthcare services. Ensuring veterans have access to child care is especially important for our growing population of women veterans, who are more likely to be taking care of young children. I am extremely pleased that the House passed this important legislation today, and I look forward to continuing to work with Senator Murray and Congressman Higgins, who have been long-time leaders on this issue, to get this bill passed in the Senate and signed into law.”
Kids Korner opened at the Buffalo VA in 2011 after it was authorized by legislation in 2010. Originally set to expire in September of 2013, Higgins fought the proposed closure of the program in and has successfully pushed for the extension of Kids Korner each year. It’s currently set to expire October 1, 2019.
H.R. 840 is supported by numerous veteran groups, including Disabled American Veterans, the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Paralyzed Veterans of America, AMVETS, Easterseals, and the Fleet Reserve Association.