Wes Hickman (202 224-5972) and Kevin Bishop (864 250-1417)
- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, announced the committee unanimously approved several bills to improve benefits for veterans and their dependants.
The committee approved the following bills:
- Veterans Survivors Benefits Enhancement Act of 2003- This bill improves and enhances certain benefits for survivors of veterans, including an increase in survivors/dependants educational benefits and a $250 increase in the monthly rate of dependency and indemnity compensation for surviving spouses with children under 18.
- Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (formerly known as the Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act) - This bill provides updated civil protections for service members called to active duty. The bill authorizes to termination of leases, including automobiles; sets the maximum interest rate on debts incurred before military service at 6 percent; and, protects the voting rights of military personnel called to duty.
Graham was a cosponsor of both bills.
“Men and women who serve our country in the armed forces make sacrifices to preserve our freedom and protect our liberty,” said Graham. “Their patriotism and dedication should be rewarded. We have a responsibility as a nation to care for their needs and those of their families.”
Graham noted the committee also approved legislation authorizing the creation of a new national cemetery in Greenville.
In addition, the committee approved the annual cost-of-living-adjustment to increase the rates of compensation for veterans with service connected disabilities.
The bills must now be passed by Congress and signed into law by President Bush.