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Gus Bilirakis Gets Proposal to Help Disabled Veterans Have More Travel Options Signed into Law

August 13, 2018 - 4:00pm
Gus Bilirakis
Gus Bilirakis

U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Fla., the vice chairman of the U.S. House Veterans Affairs Committee, scored a win on Capitol Hill as his proposal helping disabled veterans have more access to transportation has become law. 

Back in 2016, Bilirakis, U.S. Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., and U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., unveiled the Disabled Veterans Access to Space-A Travel Act.

Under the Space-Available (Space-A) program, retired Armed Forces personnel are able to travel on military planes if there is space on flights but there are some limits when it comes to disabled veterans.  The bill would let disabled veterans with a “permanent service-connected disability rated as 100 percent to travel aboard military aircraft” by adjusting the Space-A program. 

“Disabled veterans who have a service-connected permanent disability rated as 100 percent cannot travel on military flights unless they are military retirees,” Bilirakis’ office noted when he unveiled the proposal. “This bill would authorize veterans who have a service-connected, permanent disability rated as 100 percent to travel on Space-A at no additional cost to the Department of Defense and without aircraft modifications.”

“I’m proud we have worked together on this legislation to help our true American heroes,” Bilirakis said when the bill was introduced. “Our veterans have bravely served our country, and this is a common sense bill to help us further honor the sacrifices of 100 percent service-disabled veterans. It would allow these heroes to be eligible for the Space-Available program at no additional cost to the Department of Defense. The Space-A program allows active duty service members, their families, retirees, and certain others to fill empty seats on DOD flights. While active duty members and their families will remain the primary beneficiaries of this program in order to assist them in their service, our bill will extend this benefit to our disabled veterans. I’m honored to continue my work to support all our nation's heroes.”

Bilirakis’ proposal was included in the National Defense Authorization Act and the congressman weighed in on it on Monday. 

“The Space Available Travel program is a benefit rightfully extended to all military retirees, yet it excludes those who are 100 percent disabled,” he said. “The brave men and women who served our country, and returned home injured, have already paid a big price on our behalf.  If there is space available for travel on a military aircraft, there is no reason our 100 percent disabled veterans shouldn’t be on that flight.   Like most good ideas, this legislation originated from a local constituent.  It has been my privilege to fight for this common sense provision that will assist our disabled veterans.”

Bilirakis pointed to his record of getting legislation over the finish line with this being his eighth proposal signed into law since the start of 2017. 

“President Reagan once talked about how much we can accomplish if we don’t care who gets the credit,” Bilirakis said.  “That’s been my approach to ensuring that these tangible public policy improvements get enacted.  I rely on my bipartisan relationships with committee leadership, other members of Congress and staff to achieve consensus and have these measures placed in large must pass bills.  These are important provisions that will improve the lives of the constituents in District 12.”


need to amend and change this bill-why restrict travel and disqualify spouse to travel with vet.Useless bill.

useless bill -restricted travel without spouse.

The bill is useless the wife ( Caregiver ) isn’t allowed to fly with the disabled Veteran . Please correct this it’s important. Make it Wright it’s just another way to stick it to the Veteran.

Great for the !00% veterans who can now travel space available but what about their spouse or caregiver? It only makes since that the disabled veteran would travel with his or her spouse as others do or is that done purposely to discourage the veteran from using space available?

He should submit a bill for disabled veterans to get dental care. I am in so much pain I am only 50% disabled went for emergency care but they said sorry in Tampa VA

If you are a veteran or National Guard and live in Hillsborough, Hernando, Pasco or Pinellas county, you can go to SmileFaith for dental work. They are located at 5400 School Rd, New Port Richey, FL 34652. or call 727-807-7958.

MUST WE HEAR FROM THESE 'obfuscating, pettifoggers' EVERY DAMN DAY until the "day after" Election Day??!!??!!??

"Pettifogger" refers to second-rate lawyers who specialize in petty cases and dubious practices. Who are the lawyers you're referring to here? Do you even know a little bit about what you constantly troll about? I doubt it! Chuckle, chuckle, chuckle.

Bilirakis seems to forget that his party killed a U.N. motion to have all U.N. member countries adopt the U.S Americans With Disabilities Act. Republicans said didn't want U.N. telling them what to do. Republicans just gutted Americans With Disabiliteie Act. It's a job killer. Republicans just cut Food Stamps which are used by both active duty and retired members. They depend on these. Republicans cut medicaid and the ACA act, both plans that veterans use, Now we have Mick Mulvaney, budget director, loosening rules, which Obama had put in effect to protect military from predatory lenders. A big recipient of lender political contributions, Mulvaney thinks it is OK to screw the troops with his loan sharks. Now we are supposed to get excited because a disabled vet may be able to catch a ride on a military plane ?

Spin leftist BS much? Take you UN and shove it you know where. Working together with the rest of the world is one thing... being RULED OVER by globalists and tearing up the Constitution is something completely different. The ADA was not "gutted" as you want people to believe. It was amended in attempt to stave off the radical lefties who want to weaponize the court system against America. Where are all the MSM reports of all the disabled being refused jobs as you anti-American morons were crying about? Huh? My suggestion to you and your comrades who stand vigilant guard over your statues of Lenin while advocating the tearing down of American historical statues is to MOVE OUT of this country to somewhere that embraces the communism you seem to prefer.

I'm going to guess you possess an 8th grade education. Obviously not at that level for grammar and spelling.

You can always tell when liberals can't support their BS, they start with the personal insults. At least he didn't use the big one on you, and call you a "Racist". It's my hope that all of us "Deplorables" will get off the couch and go vote on Election Day. That may be the only way to stop that cancer in California from growing eastward. I'm pretty sure the liberals believe that if they can get rid of that horrible 2nd amendment then it'll be a lot easier to properly manage that crazy 1st amendment. I know our liberal brothers believe, as we do, that the 1st amendment is one of the many things that make this country great. They just believe that educated people, who think the right way, should have the authority to make sure that only the right things are said. "GOD SAVE US"

God job. Bipartisan can still work for those not afraid of it.

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