House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady disputed allegations Thursday that millions of veterans could lose access to tax credits if the House Obamacare repeal legislation is signed into law.
The committee released a technical amendment Monday, which was approved in committee, aimed at codifying veterans’ access to the credit into law. The provision was later retracted to comply with the Senate’s Byrd Rule.
While the language was removed, Brady assured the regulation, implemented under Obamacare, would remain in place to ensure the same benefits are administered to the Department of Veterans Affairs under the new legislation. The Texas Republican said GOP members of the committee are committed to making sure the nation’s veterans are taken care of, adding they plan to work with the administration to improve their care.
“So we’re working to even strengthen that, we want to make sure, because the regulation today — it’s right,” Brady told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “Veterans who aren’t enrolled in the VA are eligible for this tax credit — and that would be someone running a small business or who works for a small business, or someone who has retired early and not in the VA.”
A number of critics expressed concerns the retraction of the provision would lead to an influx of veterans losing coverage, resulting in an inflow of vets seeking coverage through the VA — putting further strain on the already struggling agency.
Brady noted the provision passed in committee was only removed due to procedural restrictions. He said Republicans on the committee are looking to further strengthen the protections for the VA, and will continue to look for ways to accomplish their goal outside of the reconciliation process.
“We make sure they’re eligible for it — originally we really wanted to change that rule to strengthen it into a law, but Senate rules stopped us from doing that,” he said. “We’re still hopeful, we’d love to double strengthen that protection for the VA and I think we can do that through the process.”
Leadership is still working to gain the support needed to pass the legislation, which they hoped to bring to the floor Thursday evening. Proponents of the leadership- have repeatedly touted they plan to accomplish their replacement goals using a three-prong process, which includes rolling back a number of Obamacare regulations through executive order and passing separate legislation that isn’t subject to the same procedural hurdle in the upper chamber.
Leadership echoed Brady’s sentiments, saying they will work to improve their health care options.
“This bill will not affect veterans’ health benefits. In fact, it will increase options and reduce premiums for veterans buying insurance in the private marketplace,” a spokesman for House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy told TheDCNF. “Leader McCarthy and House Republicans are committed to ensuring the men and women who have served our country receive the best care available.”