Rep. Buchanan Introduces Veteran's ID Card Act
Endorsed by AMVETS, Vietnam Veterans of America and Veterans for Common Sense
WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-FL, has introduced the Veteran's ID Card Act (H.R. 91) -- bipartisan legislation that enables all veterans to obtain an ID card through the VA at no cost to the US taxpayer. AMVETS, Vietnam Veterans of America and Veterans for Common Sense immediately endorsed Buchanan's proposal.
Currently, the VA only offers ID cards to those who have served at least 20 years in the Armed Forces or those who receive medical care for a service-connected disability. This leaves a large population of veterans who have served honorably with no easy way to prove their military service. Buchanan's bill corrects this deficiency.
"Over the years I have heard from countless veterans who have expressed frustration over their inability to prove their military service in our Armed Forces," said Buchanan, who represents a congressional district home to more than 70,000 veterans. "A simple, affordable, standardized ID card will make life a little bit easier for our veterans and serve as a reminder to folks that these brave men and women deserve all the care and respect a grateful nation can offer."
Under current law, veterans who do not qualify for a VA-issued ID card must carry around a paper DD-214 document to prove their veteran status. This form contains sensitive personal information including social security numbers and service details that put veterans at needless risk for identity theft. H.R. 91 would minimize this threat. A standard identification card would also provide employers looking to hire veterans with an easier way to verify an employee's military service.
Anthony Hardie, Director of Veterans for Common Sense and a Bradenton, Florida resident, hailed the congressman's proposal saying the "VCS is honored to support this simple, make-sense legislation. Thank you to Rep. Buchanan for introducing this legislation, which would make it easier for many veterans to easily prove their veteran status in a simple, convenient, and credible manner."
The Veteran's ID Card Act is budget neutral as the small fee for the ID card would be paid for by the veteran. The bill also requires the Secretary of the VA to review and assess costs every five years and change the fee structure appropriately to cover all ID costs under the bill.
“AMVETS is especially supportive of this cost-neutral legislation because it will not only provide a much needed improvement over the current proof of military service document, the DD-214, but it will be carried out in a fiscally responsible way which will have minimal impact on the Veterans Administration which finds itself mired in the midst of massive claims backlogs and other issues,” said Diane M. Zumatto, National Legislative Director for AMVETS.
Buchanan served four years on the House Veterans Affairs Committee.
The following members of Congress have co-sponsored Buchanan's legislation: Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, Rep. Chris Van Hollen, Rep. Chris Stewart, Rep. Louise Slaughter, Rep. Randy Forbes, Rep. Joe Courtney, Rep. William Keating, Rep. Raul Grijalva, Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, Rep. Alma Adams, Rep. Mark Pocan, Rep. Bobby Rush