House clears bill to provide veterans with cost-of-living adjustment
The House on Monday easily cleared legislation to provide veterans with disabilities tied to their military service who receive compensation payments with an annual cost-of-living adjustment.
The bill, which the House passed 423-0, now heads to President Biden for his signature. The Senate previously passed the bill by unanimous consent in late July.
The cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) to reflect annual inflation for veterans’ disability payments, as well as compensation for survivors, would increase at the same rate as Social Security payments effective Dec. 1. That rate is determined by the consumer price index as calculated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
“The yearly COLA increase demonstrates the appreciation from a grateful nation in recognition of the service and sacrifice of those who volunteer to wear the uniform of our country,” said House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Mark Takano (D-Calif.).
Takano noted that Congress is completing work on enacting the cost-of-living adjustment for veterans’ payments well ahead of the December deadline.
“I am pleased we are considering this bill early this year so veterans will not be concerned about its passage by the Dec. 1 deadline. This is especially important with so many feeling the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Takano said.
Some estimates have predicted that the cost-of-living increase could be one of the largest annual bumps in decades because of inflation fueled by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The House is also expected to vote later this week on the annual National Defense Authorization Act.
The $778 billion defense policy bill advanced by the House Armed Services Committee earlier this month is larger than the original bill, due to 14 Democrats joining with Republicans during the markup to increase the budget by $25 billion.