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First bills from Rep. Tom Emmer: Help for vets and highways

Emmer, the only new member of the Minnesota congressional delegation this session, announced his first bills.

U.S. Rep. Tom Emmer, now in Washington for his inaugural congressional session after succeeding Michele Bachmann in the 6th District, announced today that he has introduced his first two bills.

Here’s how his office describes his first attempts at federal lawmaking:

H.R. 1532, the Keeping Our Promises to Veterans Act of 2015:

This bill amends current law to improve the Veterans Choice Program by expanding access for the veterans that need it most. It implements four easy fixes: (1) relax the 40-mile radius requirement to 20 miles; (2) reduce the current 30-day waiting period to 15; (3) require the VA to prove that one of their facilities can actually provide the care required; and (4) force the VA to come in line with the Prompt Pay Act.

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Emmer said in a statement: “After the disturbing revelations regarding veteran care at several VA hospitals around the country, Congress made great strides in working to resolve these issues. But there is still work to be done and oversights to rectify. We have a sacred obligation to our veterans when they return home. These small changes to the Veterans Choice Program will help them have easier and more reliable access to the care they deserve.”

H.R. 1606, the National Interchange/Intersection Safety Construction Program Act of 2015 (NIISCP):

The NIISCP would establish a national program that would prioritize a portion of federal highway funds every year and allow projects to compete for those funds on a state-by-state basis. Those projects selected could then be approved by Congress.

Emmer: “In my meetings with constituents, the calls for transportation assistance throughout our state are unanimous, especially with regard to expanding US 10 and I-94. With these needs so apparent and attention on it so minimal on the state level, this legislation is necessary to narrow the focus of a portion of funding to help keep our intersections and interchanges safe. Additionally, this will boost economic development and relieve congestion along the troubled routes that many Minnesotans travel daily.”