BVA’s Government Relations team is a consistent presence on Capitol Hill. We work to educate congressional leaders on the needs of our blinded veterans, their families and caregivers. The resolutions adopted by BVA members during the annual National Convention drive our legislative advocacy – ensuring the federal laws, regulations and policies governing the Department of Veterans Affairs – and other federal agencies – are continually improved.

Legislative Action Center

OneClick Politics (WEB)

Phone: (202) 224-9126
Website: (CLICK HERE)

Phone: (202) 225-9756
Website: (CLICK HERE)

Phone: (800) 827-1000
Website: (CLICK HERE)

Phone: (202) 461-7317
Website: (CLICK HERE)

Phone: (877) 827-3702
Website: (CLICK HERE)

Phone: (800) 669-7079
Voting Information: (DOC) (PDF)

Legislative Priorities

BVA is constantly seeking the support of legislators in enacting policies that will assist blinded veterans, monitoring favorable legislation, and keeping members apprised of new information regarding legislation. Our members are represented on the Hill during congressional committee meetings – and with individual congressional members and their staff – by the government relations team. BVA has successfully supported several key pieces of legislation in the past – and looks forward to continuing to fight the good fight for blinded veterans in the year ahead.

It is our hope that this first session of the 117th Congress will proactively address the following critically important issues:

    I. Call upon Congress, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA),
        and the Department of Defense (DoD) to request that the
        Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs (ASDHA) work
        with the United Kingdom (UK) Minister of Defence to provide
        funding for the Joint Ocular Trauma Task Group (JOTTG)
        established by mutual formal agreement on September 29,
        2020;
   II. Request that the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of
        Fiscal Year 2022 (FY22) include a mandate that the DoD Defense
        Health Agency (DHA) comply with Section 703 of the NDAA
        (Public Law 114-328) of FY17 requesting the designation of four
        ocular trauma specialty centers;
  III. Request FY22 appropriations of $30 million for the DoD
        Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP)
        Vision Research Program (VRP), strengthening the “ONLY”
        research program focused on prevention and treatment of
        combat-related ocular trauma and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
        visual dysfunction;
  IV. Support adequate funding of Veterans Health Administration
        (VHA) Blind Rehabilitation Service (BRS);
   V. Request that the VA auto grant for service-connected blinded
        veterans have a renewal period of every ten years;
  VI. Support the continued improvement of programs and services
        for women veterans;
 VII. Ensure that VA implement caregiver benefits for
        catastrophically “blinded” disabled veterans, mandating the
        modification of eligibility criteria regarding “Activities of Daily
        Living” to include caregivers for blinded veterans;
VIII. Request the enactment of adequate protections for guide dogs
        and service dogs on federal properties;
  IX. Support the FY22-23 Independent Budget recommendations for
        Prosthetics and Sensory Aids;
   X. Support oversight of VA compliance with accessibility
        requirements.

Accomplishments During 116th Congress
    I. Enacted H.R. 3504 modernizing VA’s Specially Adapted Housing
        (SAH) grant program and mandating that eligibility criteria be
        inclusive of legally blind veterans. Signed into law on August 8,
        2020;
   II. Supported and urged swift Senate passage of H.R. 4920, which
        continued VA contracts with AbilityOne® programs that employ
        blinded and visually impaired veterans. Signed into law on
        August 8, 2020;
  III. Enacted S. 3587 (companion bill H.R. 1199) mandating VA’s
        compliance with website accessibility as required by Section
        508 of the Rehabilitation Act (29 United States Code §794d),
        amended by the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (Public Law
        105-220). Signed into law on December 4, 2020;
  IV. Supported and urged passage of H.R. 7105, improving and
        expanding programs and services for women veterans. Signed
        into law on January 5, 2020.

Download our 2021 Legislative Priorities (HERE).

Vision Research

Legislative Library

FY 2021 Congressional Requests

Read how BVA is supporting a three-year pilot program to validate the use of the Military Technology Enterprise Consortium mechanism with the Vision Research Program and requests that language be included in the NDAA FY 2022 to establish such a MTEC pilot.
View Request: (DOC) (PDF)

Read how BVA is on the cutting edge of advancing key vision research in the United States by advocating for higher levels of Congressional funding.

View Request: (DOC) (PDF)

Read BVA’s letter to the House and Senate Appropriations Committees requesting that the Vision Research Program be funded at $30 million for Fiscal Year 2022.

Read more about how BVA is partnering with Blinded Veterans United Kingdom to advance combat ocular trauma care and vision research.

Legislative Testimony

Testimony: (PDF) (DOC)
Presented By:  Dr. Thomas A. Zampieri, National President

Testimony: (PDF)
Presented By:  Dr. Thomas A. Zampieri, National President

Testimony: (PDF)
Presented By:  Dr. Thomas A. Zampieri, National President

Testimony: (PDF)
Presented By:  Paul L. Mimms, National Vice President

Testimony: (PDF)
Presented By:  Robert D. (Dale) Stamper, National President

Testimony: (PDF)
Presented By:  Robert D. (Dale) Stamper, National President

Supported Legislation

H.R. 112 “Care Veterans Deserve Act of 2021”
A bill to make certain improvements in the provision of medical care by the Department of Veterans Affairs, and for other purposes.
Rep. Richard Hudson (NC-8-R)

H.R. 344 “Women Veterans TRUST Act”
A bill to direct the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to conduct an analysis of the need for women-specific programs that treat and rehabilitate women veterans with drug and alcohol dependency and to carry out a pilot program regarding such programs.
Rep. Julia Brownley (CA-26-D)

H.R. 67 “Veteran Overmedication and Suicide Prevention Act of 2021”
A bill to direct the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to conduct an independent review of the deaths of certain veterans by suicide, and for other purposes.
Rep. Vern Buchanan (FL-16-R)

H.R. 143 “HERO Transition from Battlespace to Workplace Act of 2021”
A bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide a tax credit to encourage private employers to hire veterans, to amend title 38, United States Code, to clarify the reasonable efforts an employer may make under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act with respect to hiring veterans, and for other purposes.
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18-D)

H.R. 431 “Access Technology Affordability Act of 2021”
A bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to allow a refundable tax credit against income tax for the purchase of qualified access technology for the blind.
Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-5-D)

S. 212 “Access Technology Affordability Act of 2021”
A bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to allow a refundable tax credit against income tax for the purchase of qualified access technology for the blind.
Sen. Benjamin Cardin (MD-D)

H.R. 217 “Improving Confidence in Veterans’ Care Act”
A bill to amend title 38, United States Code, to direct the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to enforce the licensure requirement for medical providers of the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Rep. Michael Cloud (TX-27-R)

H.R. 333 “Disabled Veterans Tax Termination Act”
A bill to amend title 10, United States Code, to permit retired members of the Armed Forces who have a service-connected disability rated less than 50 percent to receive concurrent payment of both retired pay and veterans disability compensation, to extend eligibility for concurrent receipt to chapter 61 disability retirees with less than 20 years of service, and for other purposes.
Rep. Sanford Bishop (GA-2-D)

H.R. 475 “Health Care Fairness for Military Families Act of 2021”
To amend title 10, United States Code, to improve dependent coverage under the TRICARE Young Adult Program, and for other purposes.
Rep. Elaine Luria (VA-2-D)

H.R. 617 “No Coronavirus Copays for Veterans Act”
To prohibit the Secretary of Veterans Affairs from charging veterans copayments for preventive services relating to
COVID-19.
Rep. Lauren Underwood (IL-14-D)

H.R. 364 “Veterans’ True Choice Act of 2021”
To amend title 10, United States Code, to provide eligibility for TRICARE Select to veterans with service-connected disabilities, and for other purposes.
Rep. Greg Steube (FL-17-R)

H.R. 109 “Department of Veterans Affairs Electronic Health Record Advisory Committee Act”
To amend title 38, United States Code, to establish an advisory committee on the implementation by the Department of Veterans Affairs of an electronic health record.
Rep. Richard Hudson (NC-8-R)

S. 134 “No Title”
A bill to direct the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to carry out a retraining assistance program for unemployed veterans, and for other purposes.
Sen. Jerry Moran (KS-R)

H.R. 637 “Veterans Economic Recovery Act of 2021”
To direct the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to provide retraining assistance to certain veterans unemployed by reason of the COVID-19 public health emergency.
Rep. Mike Bost (IL-12-R)

H.R. 855 “VETS Safe Travel Act”
To provide PreCheck to certain severely injured or disabled veterans, and for other purposes.
Rep. Paul Gosar (AZ-4-R)

H.R. 110 “Care for the Veteran Caregiver Act”
To amend title 38, United States Code, to improve assistance and support services for caregivers of veterans.
Rep. Richard Hudson (NC-8-R)

S. 189 “Veterans’ Disability Compensation Automatic COLA Act of 2021”
A bill to amend title 38, United States Code, to provide for annual cost-of-living adjustments to be made automatically by law each year in the rates of disability compensation for veterans with service-connected disabilities and the rates of dependency and indemnity compensation for survivors of certain service-connected disabled veterans, and for other purposes.
Sen. John Thune (SD-R)

H.R. 165 “Improving Access to Homes for Heroes Act of 2021”
A bill to require the inclusion of veterans in housing planning and an annual report on housing assistance to veterans, and for other purposes.
Rep. Al Green (TX-09-D)

H.R. 1361 “No Title”
A bill to amend title 38, United States Code, to authorize the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to provide or assist in providing an additional vehicle adapted for operation by disabled individuals to certain eligible persons.
Rep. Dan Meuser (PA-09-R)

S. 444 “No Title”
A bill to amend title 38, United States Code, to authorize the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to provide or assist in providing an additional vehicle adapted for operation by disabled individuals to certain eligible persons.
Sen. Susan Collins (ME-R)

H.R. 1282 “No Title”
A bill to amend title 10, United States Code, to expand eligibility to certain military retirees for concurrent receipt of veterans' disability compensation and retired pay or combat-related special compensation, and for other purposes.
Rep. Gus Bilirakis (FL-12-R)

S. 344 “Major Richard Star Act”
A bill to amend title 10, United States Code, to provide for concurrent receipt of veterans' disability compensation and retirement pay for disability retirees with fewer than 20 years of service and a combat-related disability, and for other purposes.
Sen. Jon Tester (MT-D)

H.R. 914 “Dental Care for Veterans Act”
A bill to amend title 38, United States Code, to require the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to furnish dental care in the same manner as any other medical service, and for other purposes.
Rep. Julia Brownley (CA-26-D)

H.R. 1100 “No Title”
A bill to amend the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 to include consumer facing websites and mobile applications owned or operated by a private entity, to establish web accessibility compliance standards for such websites and mobile applications, and for other purposes.
Rep. Ted Budd (NC-13-R)

H.R. “No Title”
A bill to amend title II of the Social Security Act to establish a disability benefit offset for Purple Heart recipients, and for other purposes.
Rep. Austin Scott (GA-08-R)