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Veterans Mobility Safety Act of 2016

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Veterans Mobility Safety Act of 2016

Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth
Congressional Record, 114th Congress
Extensions of Remarks
13 September 2016

Speech of HON. TAMMY DUCKWORTH of Illinois in the House of Representatives
Monday, September 12, 2016

Ms. DUCKWORTH. Mr. Speaker, I strongly support the Veterans Mobility Safety Act of 2015.

As a Veteran with a service-connected disability, I have personally participated in the Automobile Adaptive Equipment Program (AAEP) and I know how valuable this program is to Veterans across the country.

As a mother of a toddler, I care about the safety of my car more than ever. I am committed to making the best choices for my daughter and strive to keep her out of danger.

My story is not unique. There are so many Veterans out there that depend on the AAEP to provide transportation for their families.

Safety and the quality of services provided to our wounded Veterans should be a top priority.

Last Congress, I wrote a letter to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) urging them to reevaluate the AAEP because it does not require vendors to meet any standards of quality, performance and safety.

I am extremely concerned that this obvious lack of guidelines exposes our most vulnerable Veterans to vendors who manufacture and install subpar, low quality and dangerous equipment.

It can also lead to higher maintenance costs and wastes taxpayer money.

Unfortunately, this gap in the statute allows improper and unsafe installations for our Veterans and also puts the general driving public in harm's way.

The fix here is simple--we must have high quality and certification standards for those who provide automobile adaptive equipment, installations and maintenance for disabled Veterans.

Veterans with disabilities have earned the right to be able to have safe, quality adaptive equipment in their cars that meets their needs and allows them to live full, independent lives.

I urge my Colleagues to support this measure, and to remedy the VA's lack of minimum standards for the AAE program in order to hold vendors accountable, increase quality of VA healthcare and ensure safe driving conditions for Veterans, their families and civilians.

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