Legion praises bill to extend COVID-driven assistance

Legion praises bill to extend COVID-driven assistance

American Legion National Commander Vincent J. “Jim” Troiola sent words of support to U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., who authored a bill that would extend certain COVID-19-driven assistance beyond their original sunsets, less than two weeks away.

 The CHARGE Act – Critical Health Access Resource and Grant Extensions – of 2023 would:

-       Keep COVID-19 vaccines, preventive services and treatments available free of charge for veterans, veteran spouses and caregivers

-       Improve flexibility to provide direct assistance for homeless veterans

-       Continue increased per-diem rates VA is authorized to pay state veterans homes to house homeless veterans

-       Make permanent the authority to allow VA to share personal protective equipment, vaccines, medicine and other supplies with state veterans homes

Backed by two national resolutions – one passed by the National Executive Committee in 2018 and another by the 103rd National Convention last August in Milwaukee – Troiola said VA’s performance during the pandemic demonstrated the need to continue measures laid out in the CHARGE Act and remove them from emergency status.

“VA implemented a host of successful programs and authorities to address veterans homelessness in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, including provisions related to access to case management, caregivers, state veterans homes and temporary housing,” Troiola explained on May 2. “With the federal public health emergency expiring on May 11, we must efficiently phase successful programs out of emergency authorities. The American Legion is proud to support the CHARGE Act of 2023, which will ensure our homeless veterans continue to receive the resources and services they deserve, and applauds Sen. Tester’s leadership on behalf of our nation’s heroes.”