House Passes the Veterans’ Access to Child Care Act to Provide Free Child Care at VA Medical Centers and Clinics
Brindisi Offers Amendments to Support Rural Veterans, Ensure Bill Includes Community Based Outpatient Clinics
Brindisi: Lack of Child Care Shouldn’t Prevent Veterans from Receiving Care They’ve Earned
The House of Representatives today passed the Veterans’ Access to Child Care Act (H.R. 840), bipartisan legislation to provide free child care at VA medical centers and clinics so that veterans receiving recurring treatment have a dependable, cost-free child care option when they use VA health care.
The bill included an amendment introduced by Congressman Anthony Brindisi (NY-22) clarifying that Community Based Outpatient Clinics (CBOC) are included under the bill’s definition of “facilities of the Department” to ensure rural veterans who receive care from CBOCs are able to access VA child care assistance. There are three CBOCs in NY-22: Bainbridge, Binghamton, and Rome.
The bill also included an amendment co-authored by Brindisi and Rep. Jared Golden (ME-02) requiring the VA to report to Congress on child care access and eligibility challenges for veterans who reside in rural and highly rural areas. Over 50% of New York’s 22nd district is classified as rural.
“Veterans should never have to miss a doctor’s appointment because they don’t have affordable or reliable child care,” said Brindisi. “The Veterans’ Access to Child Care Act is a commonsense solution that removes this roadblock and ensures our nation’s veterans have access to the care they’ve earned, no matter where they live.
“Veterans in rural Upstate New York often face additional challenges — that’s why I worked to ensure Community Based Outpatient Clinics across Upstate New York are included in the program,” continued Brindisi. “As a member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, I will continue working with both parties to ensure all rural veterans have access to the support, resources, and care they need.”
In 2010, Congress passed legislation directing the VA to create a pilot program to provide free childcare at a small number of VA medical centers and clinics. The pilot program has been reauthorized multiple times; however, it is set to expire on October 1, 2019. H.R. 840 would make the VA’s Child Care Pilot Program permanent and expand it so that veterans receiving recurring treatment and who are primary caretakers, have a safe, reliable, and cost-free option for childcare when they use VA healthcare.
Brindisi spoke on the House floor about his first amendment.