McKinley Discusses Veterans Issues with West Virginia Icon Woody Williams, Retired Adjutant General James Hoyer

McKinley: “Supporting West Virginia veterans’ access to health care benefits and fighting the closure of VA facilities remains among my top priorities in Washington”

Washington, D.C. — Congressman David B. McKinley, P.E. (W.Va.-01) spoke over Zoom today with Iwo Jima Hero and Medal of Honor Recipient Woody Williams, as well as Retired Major General and former West Virginia Adjutant General James Hoyer, to discuss issues facing veterans in the state.

“Woody is a true American hero whose service to America and West Virginia is unmatched, and I am grateful for the insights he has shared about his work and the issues facing veterans today. Woody continues to be a strong advocate for veterans,” said Rep. McKinley.

“It is clear that our work is not done. The recent VA study that recommended hospital closures is concerning, especially for our state’s rural veterans, as it would severely limit their access to the specialized medical care that they earned by serving their country, by providers they trust. We continue to work with Senators Capito and Manchin to ensure that our veterans continue to have greater access to quality health care."

“Thank you to Woody and General Hoyer for sharing your perspectives and for your ongoing work to address these critical issues and steadfast support of veterans in our state.”

BACKGROUND:

Rep. McKinley has also introduced and supported numerous bills that address issues facing Veterans, including:

  • Veterans Benefits Improvement Act of 2022 which would address the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) claims backlog and ensure veterans are provided with access to their earned benefits without undue delay.
  • The “VCR Act,” (H.R. 1510) which would require the Dept. of VA to report on its policies and procedures relating to the usage and maintenance of video cameras for patient safety and law enforcement at VA medical facilities. The bill was signed into law on Nov. 23, 2021.
  • The National Suicide Hotline Enhancement Act (H.R. 2345) which established a three-digit hotline, “988,” for suicide prevention. The bill was signed into law on Aug. 14, 2018.
  • Honoring our PACT Act of 2021 (H.R.3967) addressing health care needs by presuming service-connected exposure to toxic substances during military service.
  • Guard and Reserve GI Bill Parity Act of 2021 (H.R. 1836) which rectifies the disparity of the National Guard and Reserve not receiving the same GI Bill benefits as servicemembers despite doing the same jobs with the same risks.
  • Ensuring Veterans’ Smooth Transition (EVEST) Act 2021 (H.R. 4673) which automatically enrolls eligible servicemembers in VA healthcare during their transition out of the military. Veterans would be notified they were enrolled and what benefits are available to them. Once enrolled, the veteran can also choose to opt-out if they do not want to receive healthcare.





They also discussed important policy changes including the launch of the three-digit National Suicide Hotline number, 9-8-8, the Mountaineer Challenge Academy program, the AIR Report and legislation that addresses health care benefits and specialized care for veterans who were exposed to toxic substances in burn pits or agent orange. 


VFW members from across West Virginia and Medal of Honor recipient Woody Williams met with Rep. McKinley in his office in Washington in 2014.

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