March 21, 2011



Dear Colleague:

During the 111th Congress, H.R. 5953, the Women Veterans Bill of Rights, passed the House by unanimous consent.  This Congress, I have re-introduced this important legislation, and I invite you to co-sponsor H.R. 809.

According to VA, there are 1.8 million women veterans, and that number only continues to rise.  According to VA estimates, by 2018 roughly a tenth of all veterans enrolled in the VA healthcare system will be women, up from 7.7 percent currently. 

H.R. 809 would require all VA facilities to display a bill of rights outlining VA’s responsibility to women veterans.  Twenty-four key points would detail what women veterans should expect of VA, and would ensure that they are treated with the dignity and respect that they have earned.  Specifically, these points would address VA’s responsibility to provide women veterans with full and timely access to quality healthcare, vigorous outreach, and complete equality in accessing VA benefits and services, among other important issues.
Women veterans are serving in record numbers alongside their male counterparts.  It is time for VA to shed the pervasive male environment that exists at many of the VA Medical Centers and other facilities and embrace the female veteran population.  While VA has taken steps toward recognizing and respecting the unique concerns of women veterans, more needs to be done. 

If you would like further information or to sign on as a co-sponsor of this important piece of legislation, please contact Jian Zapata of my staff.


Ranking Democratic Member