March 17, 2017
Washington, D.C. – Today, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 1367, a bill to improve hiring and retention practices for employees of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The House voted to include an amendment offered by Congresswoman Terri A. Sewell (D-AL) encouraging the VA Secretary to select eligible employees for its Fellowship Program who represent rural areas in order to alleviate the systemic burdens of rural healthcare workforce shortages. Rep. Sewell’s amendment and the underlying bill passed in bipartisan votes.
“In return for their service, our country has a sacred obligation to care for our veterans and military families,” said Rep. Sewell. “Today’s bipartisan support for legislation that strengthens VA hiring practices is an important step towards providing more responsive, more effective healthcare for our nation’s heroes. My amendment helps to ensure that veterans who are serviced by rural VAs have access to healthcare experts with cutting edge experience in the public and private sectors. On top of long driving distances and minimal access to care, workforce shortages make it harder for our rural veterans to get the help they need, when they need it. I want to thank my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for their support, and I look forward to continuing our work to ensure that our nation keeps its promise to the men and women who serve our country.”
Approximately 25 percent of our nation’s veterans live in rural communities and comprise nearly 11 percent of the adult rural population. Rural veterans account for 36 percent of all VA enrollees.
Rep. Sewell’s amendment passed the House of Representatives on Friday morning by voice vote. View the floor proceedings on the Sewell Amendment and Rep. Sewell’s floor speech.
Rep. Terri A. Sewell (D-AL) is serving her fourth term representing Alabama’s 7th Congressional district. She sits on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and was recently appointed to the powerful House Ways and Means Committee. Sewell is a Chief Deputy Whip and serves on the prestigious Steering and Policy Committee of the Democratic Caucus. She is also a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, and serves as Vice Chair of the Congressional Voting Rights Caucus, and Vice Chair of Outreach for the New Democrat Coalition.