U.S. Rep. David B. McKinley wants to be a member of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs during the upcoming 113th Congress.
McKinley, R-Wheeling, already sits on the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Members of major committees in the House typically are assigned to subcommittees within that committee, and not to other committees in the House.
On the Energy and Commerce Committee, McKinley serves on the Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade Subcommittee, as well as the Energy and Power Subcommittee.
"I want to stay on the Energy and Commerce Committee, and maybe pick up another subcommittee assignment," McKinley said. "I have also asked to serve on the Veterans Committee. I'm hearing about a lot of issues from veterans, and I'm not confident they are working on all of those on that committee. I know members of major committees typically don't work on other committees, but I want to address these issues."
Most of the issues are health care related, McKinley continued. He has been told the Veterans Administration isn't processing claims as quickly as needed.
"People are waiting for a year or longer to get claims cleared up," he said. "That isn't right."
In February, McKinley introduced House Resolution 4079, the "Safe Housing for Homeless Veterans Act." The measure prohibits any federal grants or funds from going to any homeless veterans shelter unless it has been certified as compliant with all local codes relevant to operations and level of care provided, as well as any other local requirements regarding the condition of the structure and the operation of the supportive housing or service center.
HR 4079 initially was assigned to the Veterans Affairs Committee and is now before its Subcommittee on Health.
McKinley said he plans to reintroduce the bill during the next Congress, as well as one dealing with concerns about soldiers exposed to dangerous chemicals in Afghanistan, and another giving returning soldiers some advantage in the job market.
"We want it so if they are already trained, they won't have to start again in an apprenticeship program," McKinley said. "This gives them a chance. If there's a federal license, we're looking to see if some requirements can be waived if they already did the job in the military for three years. We have to speed up the process so they can get a job."