Press Release

Rep. Cuellar Co-Sponsors Bipartisan Legislation to Support Women Veterans

Congressman Co-Sponsors the Deborah Sampson Act

Washington | Charlotte Laracy, DC Press Secretary (202-226-1583); Leslie Martinez, District Press Secretary (956-286-6007), October 31, 2019

WASHINGTON, D.C.-- Congressman Henry Cuellar (TX-28) co-sponsors H.R. 3224, the Deborah Sampson Act, which aims to address inequities in accessing VA healthcare and benefits for women veterans. The Deborah Sampson Act will improve access to healthcare, legal services, housing, and other resources for women veterans.

“Veterans deserve the highest quality care when they return home, regardless of gender. Unfortunately, too many women veterans face obstacles when they try to receive care from the VA,” Congressman Cuellar said. “This legislation will ensure women veterans receive the support and care they deserve. As a member of the Women Veterans Task Force, I will continue to fight for all service members, veterans, and their family members.

“I want to thank Congresswoman Julia Brownley and the rest of my colleagues on the House Veteran’s Affairs Committee for their work on this bill.”

The Deborah Sampson Act

Women have served in every conflict since the Revolutionary War, and today there are over two million women veterans in the United States, making them the fastest growing demographic in both the active military and veteran population. Unfortunately, women veterans have to navigate a number of issues when receiving healthcare and resources from the VA. Longer wait times, staffing shortages, and lack of basic care continue to be barriers to women veterans receiving the services they earned.

The Deborah Sampson Act includes the following provisions:

  • Expands group counseling for veterans and their family members and call centers for women veterans;
  • Improves the quality of care for infant children of women veterans by increasing the number of days of maternity care VA facilities can provide;
  • Eliminates barriers to care by increasing the number of gender-specific providers in VA facilities, training clinicians, and retrofitting VA facilities to enhance privacy and improve the environment of care for women veterans,
  • Authorizes additional grants for organizations supporting low-income women veterans and increases resources for homeless women and their families; and
  • Improves the collection and analysis of data regarding women veterans, expands outreach by centralizing all information for women veterans on the VA website.

The bill earns its namesake from Deborah Sampson Gannett, the Revolutionary War veteran who disguised herself as a man and fought in the Continental Army, becoming the first woman to earn a full military pension for her service.

The Deborah Sampson Act is endorsed by veterans across the country, including the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), and the Disabled American Veterans (DAV).