Press Releases

U.S. Rep. Harold "Hal" Rogers (KY-05) defended military veterans this week on Capitol Hill during budget hearings with Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Robert A. McDonald and Department of Defense (DoD) Secretary Ashton Carter, as well as through his support for two veterans-related bills. On Monday, the House passed under suspension the Long-Term Care Veterans Choice Act (H.R. 294) and a bill to rescind bonuses from underperforming VA employees (H.R. 280).

Rogers commended Secretary McDonald for the actions he has taken to curtail mismanagement and negligence in the VA, but pushed for continued efforts to digitize medical records and to ensure that eligible veterans can join the newly established Veterans Choice Program with ease.

"Many veterans who should qualify for the Choice Program have been denied access by the VA. These veterans either live more than 40 miles from a VA facility or must drive distances in excess of 40 miles to reach one," said Chairman Rogers. "This Department must take steps to ensure that the '40 mile rule' and qualifying exceptions are applied evenly and in a timely manner." 

Rogers also applauded the work of Veterans Treatment Courts and improved action to prevent prescription drug abuse among veterans. 

During a budget hearing with the DoD on Wednesday, Rogers also questioned Secretary Ashton B. Carter about plans for authorized use of military force relating to ISIS and integrating health records with the VA. 

The House also passed H.R. 294, which expands veterans' healthcare choices by allowing eligible veterans to receive long-term, VA-paid nursing home health services for three years, beginning October 1, 2015. Medical foster home care is a long-term care alternative for veterans who prefer a smaller, more home-like and familial care setting than a traditional nursing home. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates the bill would result in cost savings of $248 million over the next five years. 

H.R. 280 also passed the House on Monday. This legislation aims to curtail mismanagement and negligence at VA facilities by authorizing the Secretary of the VA to recoup more than $380,000 in cash bonuses paid to top executives at 38 hospitals who are under investigation for falsifying wait times for medical care. Currently, the VA has no authority to recoup bonuses for its employees, even if they were awarded under false pretenses. 

Click here to watch Rogers' comments to Secretary McDonald. (Comments begin at 17:00)

Click here to watch Rogers' questions for Secretary Carter. (Questions begin at 42:36)

Rogers has served Kentucky’s 5th Congressional District since 1981. With a focus on economic development, job creation, fighting illegal drugs and preserving Appalachia’s natural treasures, he has a reputation for listening to his constituents and fighting for the region he represents. For more information, visit or follow Rogers on Twitter at!/RepHalRogers or on Facebook at!/CongressmanHalRogers.