Two and a half years after his “Veterans ID Card Act" was signed into law, U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., announced on Thursday that veterans will be able to go online and apply for a Veteran ID Card next month.
Buchanan brought out his bill to ensure all veterans receive ID cards from the VA instead of just those veterans who served 20 years in the armed forces or are seeking medical treatment for service-related wounds. In pushing his bill during 2015, Buchanan noted veterans are forced to carry DD-214 paperwork, which contains sensitive information including Social Security numbers, insisting an ID card would be more convenient and do a better job of keeping personal information secure.
On Thursday, Buchanan said veterans would be able to go to the VA’s website next month and apply for the ID cards. Veterans will need to upload a valid government ID such as passports and drivers licenses, a recent photograph for the Veteran ID Card and will need to provide details about their military service. The VA will mail the ID card directly to the veteran. 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. “These ID cards will make life a little bit easier for our veterans and serve as a constant reminder that our brave men and women in uniform deserve all the care and respect a grateful nation can offer.”
The House passed the bill in June 2015 with 402 representatives backing it and no votes cast against it. In the Senate, U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn.,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. Then President Barack Obama signed the bill into law in July 2015.
The Florida delegation stood in strong support of Buchanan’s measure. Then U.S. Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., who was the chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee and then U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown, D-Fla., the ranking Democrat on the committee at that time, both backed the bill. Other congressional representatives from Florida who co-sponsored the bill include Republican U.S. Reps Ander Crenshaw, Carlos Curbelo, Ron DeSantis, Mario Diaz-Balart, David Jolly, Bill Posey, Dennis Ross and Ted Yoho, and Democrats U.S. Reps. Ted Deutch and Alcee Hastings. The bill has also won the backing of veterans groups including AMVETS and Veterans for Common Sense (VCS). Miller and Crenshaw retired from Congress in 2016 while Brown and Jolly were turned out of office.
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