President Barack Obama on Monday signed U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan’s Veterans ID Card Act into law. Buchanan, R-Fla., introduced the bill earlier this year. Its purpose is to ensure all veterans receive ID cards from the VA instead of just those vets who served 20 years in the armed forces or are seeking medical treatment for service-related wounds.
In pushing his bill in recent months, Buchanan has noted veterans are forced to carry DD-214 paperwork, which contains sensitive information including Social Security numbers. He note an ID card would be more convenient and do a better job of keeping their personal information secure.
The House passed the bill last month with 402 representatives backing it and no votes cast against it. In the Senate, U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., last month offered an amendment to the bill ensuring all veterans would be eligible for the ID card. The Senate passed the amended bill without opposition, sending it back to the House, which passed it again, this time on a 411-0 vote.
During his efforts to pass the legislation, Buchanan insisted his bill was budget-neutral because veterans who opt for the ID card would pay a small fee, which the VA secretary would examine every five years.
“Every veteran -- past, present, and future -- will now be able to prove their military service without the added risk of identity theft,” Buchanan said on Monday night after Obama signed his bill into law. “It’s the least we can do for the brave men and women in uniform who put it all on the line for us.”
The Florida delegation stood in strong support of Buchanan’s measure. U.S. Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee and U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown, D-Fla., the ranking Democrat on the committee, both backed the bill. Other congressional representatives from Florida who co-sponsored the bill include Republicans Ander Crenshaw, Carlos Curbelo, Ron DeSantis, Mario Diaz-Balart, David Jolly, Bill Posey, Dennis Ross and Ted Yoho, and Democrats Ted Deutch and Alcee Hastings. The bill has also won the backing of veterans groups including AMVETS and Veterans for Common Sense (VCS).
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